Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Me to We ft. Degrassi's Ray Ablack

Hey everyone!

A while ago, I had a post featuring the Me to We store opening in Toronto, and I mentioned I would be having more Free The Children/Me to We posts. But, because of busy schedules, I'll have to cut it down to only one interview.

Don't worry though, it's a good one! Ray Ablack, who plays Sav on the hit show Degrassi, took the time to answer a few questions about his involvement with Free the Children.
1. Why did you decide to get involved with Free the Children?

My decision to get involved with Free The Children in 2007 was really a no brainer?! It was my first year as a cast member of Degrassi and I was eager to soak up every opportunity the show could offer. I just saw the Free The Children-Degrassi partnership as a fun adventure and a chance to better get to know my cast mates. Thus far, I've made some of my best friends, and as an extra bonus, I’ve learned a few things about the global community, poverty, and international development.

2. Where have you travelled to with FTC and what did you do there?

I've been lucky to travel with Degrassi and Free The Children to Kenya, Ecuador and India, and taken part in the building of two schools and a cafeteria/kitchen. I've come back physically and emotionally stronger every time.

3. What was your most memorable moment?

It's impossible to choose one favourite memorable moment. It all depends on the genre of emotion the question demands. Just like how you can't compare different genres of films, or apples and oranges. I've experienced so many different stand out memories - hilarious ones, heart-wrenching and heart-warming, physically and emotionally exhausting, lazy and excited moments that I couldn't choose just one. But suffice to say that each of them is more vivid than any I've experienced at home because of how different and drastic everything feels when you're abroad.

4. Was there anything you struggled with when you went on those trips?

I definitely struggled with many things during these trips. Even aside from the obvious culture shocks that you try to prepare yourself for, just being on your own and completely making decisions for yourself can be difficult. Things like rationing your clothing, products and bag space, homesickness and learning, understanding and coming to terms with the issues you're forced to deal with. Doing this for two weeks at a time can wear on your psyche.

5. What has been the greatest thing you’ve learned?

I think the greatest thing that I've learned so far is to maintain a conversation about international development with friends and family because that keeps these issues at the forefront. It reinforces very simple ripple effects in our daily routines that cumulatively create changes.

6. Why do you feel it is important for young people to get involved with organizations such as Me to We?

I think it's important that everyone, not only youth, get involved in something that affects the global community or the 'bigger picture' because we're all a part of it. Therefore every one of us affects it, so why not do so positively through routes and organizations that are maximizing our potential?

7. Do you have any upcoming plans with FTC?

I am absolutely in love with the Free The Children team and mission statement and everything about the organization. I work with them as a public speaker and I will continue to work with them in whatever capacity I can for, hopefully, the rest of my life. In terms of another trip with Free The Children, I know that the Degrassi cast is embarking on another trip this summer, and I'm excited to find out where to very soon.

*Photos courtesy of Stephen Scott (Epitome)

Thanks for checking it out!

- Christinaaa

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