My name is Simone Castellino.  I am a 4th Year Part-Time student in the Early Childhood Education program at Ryerson.  Last semester I took a class called Homeless in Canadian Society with Pascal Murphy (probably one of the best classes that I have taken at Ryerson).  Pascal mentioned an experiential learning course in New Orleans to the class and immediately I knew that I wanted to be part of the NOLA team.  I was really excited to be selected to be part of this experience. I have always jumped at the chance travel, volunteer and meet new people.  This course encompasses all of these things.

Courses such as Disability Issues and Homelessness in Canadian Society have really exposed me to a created for me an interest in issues of social justice.  This interest also pushed me to apply to the NOLA course.  We hear about natural disasters all the time on the news however rarely do we hear about the social justice issues that affect the most vulnerable. This trip will give our group the opportunity to meet those who were directly affected by Hurricane Katrina and learn first-hand how the extent of this disaster could have been prevented.

As I mentioned above I love travelling and volunteering. In the summer of 2009 I went on a life-changing trip to Tanzania with an organization called ChildReach International.  Our group camped in a village at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and worked on a school building project.  This was one of the most emotional and memorable experiences of my life.  We had the opportunity to work with the community, play with the children and learn about their culture and way of life.  This summer I will be travelling to Peru to work on a similar project.  I enjoy engaging with people from different cultures and learning about their way of life.

About me:  I live in Toronto with my husband Mike.  My interests include music, food (cooking and eating), and travelling.  I am an Assistant Director in a childcare centre in Toronto.  I am passionate about educating young children and supporting families.Image