Wednesday, 7 November 2018

WestJet staff build five new homes for families in Dominican Republic.

Annual humanitarian trip brings 50 WestJet staff members
to Puerto Plata community

In nine days, 50 staff from the Canadian airline WestJet immersed themselves in the local community of La Union in Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic, not for a holiday, but to take part in the eighth WestJet Live Different Builds. On this annual humanitarian trip, WestJet staff, nicknamed WestJetters by the company, were able to build new homes for five families living in extreme poverty.

Since WestJet's first humanitarian trip in April 2012, more than 400 of the company's staff have volunteered their time to build 38 new homes for deserving families. The 'WestJetters' extra fundraising efforts have also contributed to many significant community enhancement projects. This year, WestJetter participants raised over $17,000 of extra funds that, when topped up to $22,000 by WestJet, were used to create engineer-designed paved pathways throughout La Union, improving walkability, water dispersion and the overall health and safety of the community.

"WestJet's caring culture has always extended beyond our aircraft and we're incredibly proud of the WestJetters who volunteer their time and talents to make this important annual trip possible," said Richard Bartrem, WestJet Vice-President Marketing Communications. "By working together with Live Different and the La Union community, we are able to enrich the lives of deserving families in the WestJet world."

In 2012 WestJet partnered with Canadian-based charity Live Different to make international community investment possible in one of its most popular Caribbean destinations. Through all eight Live Different Builds, WestJet has been able to bring its caring culture to some of the most impoverished communities in the Dominican Republic.

"Live Different is consistently overwhelmed by the generosity of WestJet employees and it was our pleasure, once again, to work alongside them on the eight annual WestJet Live Different Builds in the Dominican Republic," said Alison Willis, Senior Director of International Programs, Live Different. "Together with local contractors and community members, 50 WestJetters gave it their all over the past 10 days and now five beautiful families are living in safer, drier homes. Each time we partner up, we are amazed by WestJet's commitment to going above and beyond, not just participating on the build itself, but exceeding their fundraising goals to support other projects in the community and contribute to Live Different's Community Development Fund. Together, we truly are having a positive impact in the lives of many."

The Live Different Builds team is WestJet's on-the-ground charitable partner in the Puerto Plata area. They liaise with the local community to ensure the work addresses their needs and is done in healthy and sustainable manner; to oversee project management; to hire local contractors and translators to work alongside the WestJet volunteers; as well as to provide on-site instruction and support. WestJet Live Different Builds would not exist without Live Different's careful guidance and years of experience doing this 
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