Meet the winner of the How Do You HALO Sweeps!

Posted on Dec 10, 2010 by Mary

Degrassi in Kenya, photo courtesy of Charlotte Arnold
Degrassi working with Free the Children in Kenya; photo courtesy Charlotte Arnold

I know the rest of us are bummed we didn't win the sweepstakes, but when you read this interview with Kerri, I don't think you'll be sad that she won.

Kerri and two friends will be taking a trip with Free the Children, an organization "driven by over 1 million shamelessly idealistic youth" who build schools and other infrastructure in countries that desperately need them. In fact, Free the Children was founded by a 12 year old and his friends back in 1995 -- just the kind of guy who would be showing up on the HALO Awards now.

The Degrassi cast has gone on Free the Children trips for years... and now Kerri will be joining Degrassi stars on a trip that will change not just their lives, but the lives of children in need. Here's what Kerri has to say about it!

Congratulations!! What was the tweet was that you won with?
It said "I HALO by being part of an organization that helps youth with mental health problems."

Can you tell us a little about that organization?
It's called Youth Speaking Out, and they run as part of a group called Parent Support Network in Rhode Island. My boyfriend was actually in it since he was 8, and then when we started dating he was like, "I'd really like you to come with me." I was like, "OK Sure, I'll see what it's all about." I wish that they were more well known because they really do a lot of helpful stuff.

They used to only meet once a month because they didn't have enough money, but they just went back to being once a week, so we go every Thursday.

A lot of [the kids there] are from group homes. Or they used to be in group homes, and now they're sharing their experiences and try to help [the others] deal with the situations they're in. So they include people [like me] who aren't from that... I listen to the kids, to hear what it's like, [and I offer] the perspective of someone who's not in a group home.

And you're studying to be a medical assistant, so you can help people for a living?
Yeah. It's funny, when I went to my first week of classes they asked me where I saw myself with my degree in five years, and I told them I'd really like to be in another country helping less fortunate people with my medical degree. And now I'm going somewhere!

Have you been a Degrassi fan for a long time?
Uh, yeah. Since I was in like 7th grade. I've never stopped watching it.

Who are your favorite characters?
I always liked JT, but then I was so upset when he died, I was crying. And then I told myself every time they came up with new characters, "I'm never going to like anybody as much as I liked him. He was just the best character."

And then this season came out and now Eli's on it. I like him. [laughs] And so does everybody else. And I really like Jessica Tyler, she has such a good singing voice.

And don't you get to bring two friends? Who are you going to take?
Yup, I'm going to take my boyfriend and my friend Kathy, because she always talks about how she's always wanted to be in Africa. And she's like "I'll never get to go, it costs so much money." [Since Africa's on the list of places we could end up going,] I called her and was like "You're coming with me."

It's so crazy, I never win anything! When they called me I said, "Is this a joke?" I can't win tickets off the radio, but I can win something as big and life-changing as this!

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