Peace Community: Lacey Koughan

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Hi my name is Lacey Koughan and this is my #MyCanada story.

I'm a 17 dancer and I'm from Charlottetown, PE. For my first semester of the 11th grade I decided to do something different with my education. I took a course called the "Independent Study" that my high school offers. Instead of taking 3 other courses, like most students do each semester, I took just one. I made the independent study my goal. I wanted to see how much I could learn outside of the classroom. So, from September - February out of school and into the world! It was incredible.

I spent a month travelling through Europe with my mom. We explored throughIceland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, and France. During this month I learned an unbelievable amount about myself and I was inspired in every place we visited.

We were travelling throughout Europe during the heat of the refugee arrivals which gave my experience such a unique perspective. We saw the boarders closing, trains shutting down, and we were immersed in literally thousands and thousands of refugees. Experiencing this In person is a totally different thing than just watching a video or hearing about it on the radio. I had young refugee girls coming up to me pulling on my clothes with such strong eye contact. This made me feel incredibly sad. I couldn't eat, I didn't want to do anything and I was so shocked by the situation. I lost sleep, couldn't focus during the day and all I could think about is how can I help.

After Europe, I spent time travelling through Ottawa, Toronto, and Oakville by myself. I LOVE TORONTO! I had an awesome time being independent and learning as I went along. But anytime I saw a homeless person, or heard anything about the refugees, I was back to that feeling I've never had before. I wanted to help. I didn't know how, but I knew that I had to do something about it because it was truly making me lose sleep.

When I got back to PEI around Christmas, my family and I helped out with an organization on Christmas morning that delivers gifts and food to families in need (not necessarily refugee families). I felt so incredibly amazing while I was doing this and I knew I wanted to continue helping people! I began making up Christmas gift bags and cards that I gave to the homeless people in my town which included food, hats, mitts, etc.

I also volunteered to perform and dance at a benefit for Syrian children, which made me so so so so so happy- it was an amazing night. My semester came to an end, and I had to do a final presentation to prove that I learned things outside of school. I decided to do my presentation at a brand new theatre in town which was pretty expensive..lnstead of charging people an entrance fee, I decided to take donations for refugee families coming to PEI! So everybody that came to my presentation made a donation! I'm currently in the process of seeing how the money would be most beneficial to newcomers in PEI.

When I heard about your line with Norm Kelly supporting refugee youth in Toronto I was PUMPED. Literally screamed and told my mom I wanted to order stuff for my birthday to support the cause as much as I can! I am so proud to be Canadian- having companies like you, doing amazing things, supporting others - while In style!

I just signed the registration to open my own business in Charlottetown at age 16! I'm opening a dance school called 24dancePEI. I am hoping to have 3 classes a week, hip-hop and musicals theatre. I decided to open the classes up to refugee children for free if they wish to join. Dance is a universal language that everyone can come together and have fun with. I am more than excited to get going with my new business and continuing to help out fellow brothers and sisters around world ! Your company is amazing, I can't wait to sport some new PC gear and know that I'm helping others at the same time!

I am chasing my passions of working with kids, helping others, being active and combining them into one awesome job. To me, a passion is something you really can totally immerse yourself in and love every second of it. Something you love so much you want to share with others. Not caring what other people's opinions are, sticking to your heart and following through because you love it that much. Taking risks, making sacrifices so that you can be as happy as possible.