News / Ottawa

Councillor and city manager head to Nicaragua for school building project

Acting deputy city manager Sue Jones and councillor Diane Deans will be joining 10 other women on a building project.

File photo: Ottawa Coun. Diane Deans (right), chair of the community and protective services committee, speaks to reporters with Susan Jones, the acting deputy city manager of city operations.

LUCY SCHOLEY/METRO

File photo: Ottawa Coun. Diane Deans (right), chair of the community and protective services committee, speaks to reporters with Susan Jones, the acting deputy city manager of city operations.

In February a high-profile group of Ottawa women will be leaving the snow and slush behind to take up tools halfway around the world in Nicaragua.

A team of 12 locals, fundraising with the Amazing People organization, will be building a school in Nicaragua. Among them are City of Ottawa regulars Coun. Diane Deans and acting deputy city manager Susan Jones.

The group leaves February 11 for the weeklong “Amazing Build” close to Leon, Nicaragua.

“When you’re empowering the community, it really is important to have an education,” said Jones. “I’m looking forward to going over and hopefully making a difference and interacting with the children there. I hope it will lead towards a better future for the kids in Nicaragua.”

Almonte-based SchoolBOX organizes the project. This will be the fifth school the organization has built in Nicaragua.

Deans said no city money is going towards the trip, but it’s still related to her work as chair of the community and protective services committee.

“In the last year I’ve been trying to champion the cause of vulnerable citizens here in Ottawa,” she said. “I think you have to lead by example – we all have a role to play, whether it’s in our own city or volunteering without borders around the world.”

Both women have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity before at home in Orleans, so it’s not their first time donning hard hats.

Even so, Deans admits, “I’m pretty sure I’m better known for my city-building skills than my construction skills. But you have to start somewhere.”

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