Giv­ing back

Teacher vol­un­teers time, voice, and home in Spring­dale

The Central Voice - - Front Page - BY CHRIS­TINE HENNEBURY edi­tor@the­cen­tralvoice.ca

Kelly (Burt) Hewlett, a well-known vol­un­teer in Spring­dale, en­joys lend­ing her singing voice to sup­port var­i­ous causes.

“I’ve done a va­ri­ety of com­mu­nity events,” Hewlett said. “I do a lot of gospel and songs like that.

I like to vol­un­teer my time and I try to per­form places that I can help raise money.”

De­spite her love of mu­sic and per­form­ing, Hewlett never con­sid­ered a ca­reer in mu­sic.

“To me, mu­sic is a hobby,” Hewlett said. “I don’t want to have it as a job. I like to use my mu­sic as some­thing to help other peo­ple.”

Of course, her ca­reer as a teacher at In­dian River Academy also in­volves help­ing kids all day, but Hewlett thor­oughly en­joys her work.

“I love my job, I just love work­ing with the kids. A lot of time you are the only part of their day that’s con­sis­tent, you have an im­pact on them,” Hewlett said. “It’s a re­ward­ing job and it’s an en­joy­able ca­reer.”

A few years ago, Hewlett and hus­band Stephen de­cided to take their volunteerism in a whole new di­rec­tion by open­ing their home to in­ter­na­tional ex­change stu­dents.

When their first stu­dent, Stephanie, ar­rived from Brazil last year, the Hewletts found an in­stant con­nec­tion.

“They be­come your own, that’s true. I have al­ways felt that blood doesn’t make fam­ily but when Stephanie came we just fell in love with her,” Hewlett said, “When we put her on the plane to go home, I don’t know if I ever cried so much in my life.”

Even though it was emo­tion­ally chal­leng­ing to let Stephanie go, the Hewletts have wel­comed two stu­dents into their home this term – Daniela from the Ca­nary Is­lands, and Larissa from Brazil.

Hewlett en­joys the op­por­tu­nity to help these girls see a dif­fer­ent way of life and get away from any stresses in their home coun­tries. She feels the New­found­land In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies group is do­ing im­por­tant work for in­ter­na­tional stu­dents.

“It’s a great pro­gram, it gives the kids a chance to see that life can be bet­ter, “Hewlett said. “I would en­cour­age any­one to get in­volved with it.”

While not ev­ery fam­ily can take in a stu­dent, Hewlett says there are al­ways plenty of vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties and she en­cour­ages peo­ple to con­sider pitch­ing in.

“There are a lot of re­ally good peo­ple in our com­mu­nity, a lot of peo­ple put a lot of time and make sure there are ac­tiv­i­ties and events for the peo­ple who live here, and I think that is of the ut­most im­por­tance,” Hewlett said. “That’s the back­bone of our com­mu­nity. I wish that even more peo­ple would get in­volved be­cause many hands make light work.”

She says she just tries to “be a good hu­man” and help where she can.

“I just try to be help­ful,” Hewlett said. “Grow­ing up in King’s Point, my dad and my mom al­ways en­cour­aged me to get in­volved with things. If you can help peo­ple, you do it.”

“My Grand­fa­ther Ride­out, my pop, used to say, ‘If every­body said no, they wouldn’t be able to do any­thing,’” Hewlett said. “I’m a sure bet, if some­one calls me to sing, un­less I’m sick, I’m there.”

SUB­MIT­TED

Kelly and Stephen Hewlett and vis­it­ing stu­dent Daniela (Ca­nary Is­lands), wel­come Brazil­ian stu­dent Larissa, at Deer Lake Air­port in Septem­ber.

SUB­MIT­TED

Kelly and Stephen Hewlett with Stephanie (Brazil), the first in­ter­na­tional stu­dent they wel­comed into their home.

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