Teacher volunteers time, voice, and home in Springdale
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.”
Kelly and Stephen Hewlett and visiting student Daniela (Canary Islands), welcome Brazilian student Larissa, at Deer Lake Airport in September.
Kelly and Stephen Hewlett with Stephanie (Brazil), the first international student they welcomed into their home.