“My life makes more sense when I am helping others. By using my passion for the ocean to help others, I believe I can make a difference.”
Name: Noemie Roy
Home Country: Canada
Education: College Nouvelles Frontieres
Passions and Interests: Hiking, snowboarding, ice skating and yoga
Transformational Experience: Costa Rica: Protecting the Pacific™
Making an Impact: Winner of the 3rd annual My Ocean Guardian Journey Contest
My friend Mathilde and I won the Ocean Guardian Journey Contest 2015 with our project, Bracelets for Belugas. The public had to vote for the Best Action for Environmental Stewardship. The grand prize is a surf and yoga camp for two people at Bodhi Surf School in Bahia Ballena, Costa Rica. I think the major support from all of our entourage helped us win. Everyone has been very supportive throughout the contest.”
Also, last September, my friend Mathilde and I started a project named Bracelets for Belugas. The Saint-Lawrence Beluga is an endangered species particularly important to people from Quebec, Canada because of the proximity with the Saint-Lawrence river. Wanting to protect them, we decided to raise funds for the GREMM (Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals), a group working to protect this animal. To do so, we sold Pura Vida bracelets. We wanted to spread awareness through our project. So, each bracelet came with an information card explaining the situation of the Saint-Lawrence Beluga, proposing easy actions to prevent the Saint-Lawrence pollution, and encouraging to spread awareness about this issue.
Noemie and her project partner, Mathilde, started a project they named Bracelets for Belugas. An endangered species important to people from the Quebec region of Canada, the river-dwelling Saint-Lawrence Beluga faces environmental and habitat threats on multiple fronts. Bracelets for Belugas was designed by Noemie and Mathilde to raise funds that would benefit preservation efforts for the animal.
The two decided to raise their funds for GREMM – the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals – an organization working to protect the Belugas. With the inspiration of the Costa Rican motto Pura Vida, or Pure Life, these women sold Pura Vida bracelets. Each bracelet they sold came with an information card explaining the situation of the Saint-Lawrence Beluga, and proposals for easy actions people could take to prevent pollution in the Saint-Lawrence River.
According to Noemie:
We sold all of our 100 bracelets, raising $410 and making a lot of people aware of this issue. Also, bracelet buyers are now wearing them as a sign of support for the Beluga’s situation. So, the movement is spreading.”
Noemie already had a passion for the environment prior to attending Global Leadership Adventures’ Costa Rica: Protecting the Pacific™ program. She chose the program because of her interest in studying marine biology and pursuing environmental conservation, and the opportunity to link the two.
On how her GLA program influenced her future direction, Noemie is modest:
I already liked helping others. [After my GLA program,] I now know I will be doing service and volunteering my entire life. Also, it made me thinking about linking environment and social good. For example, I would like to help coastal communities that are challenged by environmental issues. In this way, I would use my passion for the marine environment to help humans in need.”
Upon returning from Costa Rica inspired to make change in the world, Noemie knew she wanted to make the “oceans healthier and help people in need.” Her parents also noticed an immediate difference.
Her parents reflected on the changes they saw:
Before she went, we thought GLA was a safe program for students who wanted to do service in a country in need. This program has made her grow. It brought her greater awareness to oceanic and environmental issues. Now she has a greater impact on the people around her by constantly making them aware about the actions they can take and should take to protect the ocean. We were impressed by the depth of the program and the knowledge she gained. That, and the chance to meet colleagues from numerous countries will make her a better citizen of the world.”
Noemie has a promising future ahead. She’s currently a semi-finalist for the Loran Award, a scholarship awarded to Canadians who “demonstrate character, service and leadership.”
Since her trip, she also makes concerted efforts to reduce her use of plastics and encourage others to do the same. This includes a particular focus on picking up trash in order to prevent it from falling in waterways.
Looking back on her GLA experience and how it inspired her, Noemie sees in herself the passion and dedication brought by the two directors on her program:
They are both very inspiring persons. They devote their every day in making a difference in the world, and seem so happy doing it. They make it look possible, to make a real difference. It makes me want to do the same.”
Noemie attended College Nouvelles Frontieres in Gatineau, Canada.
Program Noemie attended:
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