She's on a Canada-wide peace mission.
Annie Takaro, a Grade 9 student at New Westminster Secondary School, is going on the Peace Bus with a group of teenagers - and nope, they're not hippies - from across Canada through Children's International Summer Village (CISV). The group is traveling across the country to promote peace.
Annie has been a member of CISV, a 60-year-old non-denominational organization, since she was 11 years old.
"It was founded around the time of the United Nations by a child psychologist who felt that if kids traveled and were exposed to other cultures at a relatively young age they would be more open to global friendship. So it's meant to be a peace and global friendship organization," her mother Aggie Black told The Record.
Annie became involved because they had family friends whose kids were members and they felt it was an "incredible experience and opportunity" for their kids, Black explained.
Teens apply to be on the bus, and Annie was accepted.
"I was really excited," Black said, adding that she wasn't nervous about sending her daughter out. "They screen the adult leaders really carefully, and they stay in the (CISV) family's homes."
Also, this isn't the first time Black's daughter has ventured out for a lengthy journey. The Peace Bus trek is Annie's third getaway with the group.
"She did a one-month trip to the Philippines when she was 11, and she did a three-week trip to Brazil when she was 14," Black said. "The thing that's unique about the Peace Bus, it has the (biggest) community-service component."
The trip cost $1,200, though some of the costs could be recouped through a grant.
Annie is a member the junior governing board for the Vancouver chapter of CISV, an organization that Black said celebrates people's differences.
"You fit in even if you are quirky," she said. "Like it's not like high school where everybody tries to dress the same way and look the same way. CISV more celebrates we are all different, but if we are all cooperating, it still works as a global community. So there's no pressure for kids to all be exactly the same. There's just pressure for kids to cooperate and be respectful of each other's differences."
Annie will be gone for five weeks. The trip started in Victoria, where they dipped their toes in the Pacific Ocean at mile zero, and takes them all the way to Halifax.
Annie will be writing updates for Record readers on her cross-country journey. Her first column appears on the left.