Carroll Airey turned he Twain Sullivan Grade 5 class’s curiosity about the hardship faced by people in Nicaragua following a hurricane into a charity that continues to help Nicaraguan children to this day. (Tom Roper photo)

Carroll Airey turned he Twain Sullivan Grade 5 class’s curiosity about the hardship faced by people in Nicaragua following a hurricane into a charity that continues to help Nicaraguan children to this day. (Tom Roper photo)

A caring woman from palling makes a difference for kids in Nicaragua

Tom chronicles the charity of former Twain Sullivan teacher Carroll Airey

I met Carroll Airey a few years back at a farm auction. Her husband Allen and I were regulars and enjoyed the antics of that lifestyle. My wife had kept in touch with her and became interested in Carroll’s dedication to her various charities.

I thought I should catch up with her and find out the how and whys of her world.

Carroll was born in Burns Lake and got her given name from her Grampa. He came up the Skeena on a paddle wheeler in 1909 to Hazelton and walked to Burns Lake.

He chose the Palling area to farm and the family became established. Carroll did her schooling in Decker Lake and was in love with her Grade 3 teacher. From that early age she wanted to be a teacher.

Carroll’s Mother’s influence developed her character. Jean Paulson was a caring individual in the Palling community and was always there helping her neighbours.

Carroll completed her university training and took her first teaching job in Granisle. At the time both mines were in operation and unlike today, it was a busy place.

Next in her plan was a move to Houston to take a job at Twain Sullivan. The rest is history, so to speak, as Carroll completed her career there.

But her story did not end there. This was the time of Hurricane Mitch and the devastation in Central America. One little girl in her Grade 5 class had said, “we should do something to help” and Carroll’s life took a different direction.

In conjunction with Co-development Canada and Carroll’s class, money was raised to help. Children helping Children was formed and several initiatives were developed to raise funds for various projects.

Eventually, the kids in the class wanted to know what was happening to the money they raised and Carroll took upon herself, at her own expense, to go to Nicaragua and find out.

When Carroll retired after 30 years of teaching, she did not want to lose her contacts in Nicaragua and the opportunity to help. She decided to go it alone and started TASK (Take A Stand For Kids) and has been able to help pay for several projects, including an education centre in the town of Santa Rosa del Penon.

The TASK motto is “poco a poco,” little by little, together we can make a difference.

Carroll ‘s commitment has never wavered.

“They are human beings, they have hopes and dreams just like us,” she said. “I am only one person but one person can do alot if they want to. Over the past 20 years, with the help of my friends and donors, we have raised over $100,000.”

Carroll is still to this day involved in Nicaragua and continues to commit 100 per cent of all donations to projects.

She got my wife connected with an older couple in Siuna who were not able to work and only able to survive from begging. We are able to send $50 a month to help them pay for food and housing.

Carroll has also connected with her rancher neighbour. He is willing to donate two of his yearling heifers from auction to help with ongoing projects in Nicaragua.

You are an amazing woman Carroll. Your Mom would be proud to have raised such a caring daughter.