Two recent graduates of Laurentian University's applied psychology master's program plan to spend two weeks in July volunteering at a shelter for sexually abused girls in Sri Lanka.
But Amanda Stillar and Stacey Kosmerly, both Sudbury natives, need the community's help to get there.
They're hoping to raise a total of $10,000 to defray the costs of the trip through a crowd funding campaign.
“If that doesn't happen, we're happy with anything that anybody can donate,” Stillar said.
The young women said they're doing the volunteer work — co-ordinated through the Global Work and Travel Co. — to broaden their clinical experience before going onto PhD programs.
Stillar will begin work on her doctorate in counselling psychology in September at the University of Alberta, and Kosmerly starts her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Ottawa in September.
“One thing we were taught is that a good therapist is able to do therapy without words or without use of language,” Kosmerly said.
“So the whole point really for us is going with the whole goal of being able to be effective when we don't speak the language.”
She said they'll attempt to convey empathy through facial expressions and gestures rather than language.
Stillar said she was inspired to go on the trip by one of her professors, who spoke about how travelling abroad “really informed her clinical practice” and gave her an appreciation of other cultures.
She said she chose the shelter for sexually abused girls because she hasn't done a lot of work in that area before.
“It was to broaden my experience and horizons,” Stillar said.
Those interested in contributing to the students' trip are asked to visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/sri-lanka-volunteer-trip.
Beyond the crowd funding campaign, Stillar and Kosmerly are also organizing a comedy fundraising night June 18 at 7 p.m. at Little Montreal. Among the comedians performing at the event is Michael Emond.
Tickets to the event, which cost $20 each, are available at Laurentian's psychology department or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.