NS-News: Exchange student gives something back to the Rotary Club


An international exchange student who was stranded in Nova Scotia at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is now giving back to a local Rotary club that came to his aid.

Matthew Quiroz came to Canada from Venezuela in 2019 as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.

He graduated from Dartmouth High in 2020, but when it was time to go home, Venezuela had closed its borders.

“Five Rotary clubs came together and we said, 'It's worth investing in,' so we started a scholarship fund, the Venezuelan Scholarship Fund,” said Kevin Connors, president of the Dartmouth East Rotary Club.

The funds allowed Quiroz to attend the University of King's College in Halifax, where he recently completed his Bachelor of Science and Statistics.

Quiroz says he wants to celebrate his graduation by paying it forward to the Rotary Club for everything they have done for him.

“I wanted to do something that would mark a big personal milestone but also help other people, so I decided to sign up for the Blue Nose Marathon and train for it for over nine months,” he says.

This weekend is the Blue Nose Marathon, where runners will cover more than 26 miles through Halifax and Dartmouth.

Quiroz is running to raise money for ShelterBox, a disaster relief charity.

“They provide aid and assistance in conflict areas around the world,” he says. “They were instrumental in disaster relief and it is one of the most important organizations and charities that Rotary supports.”

Quiroz says his other goal is to eventually obtain Canadian citizenship.

“I had such a great time in Canada and it gave me so many good opportunities that I definitely want to stay here,” he says.

“I work full time; I am working towards my (permanent residency) and eventually becoming a citizen. Coming to Canada and having the opportunity to go to school here was just a dream come true.”

A link to Quiroz's fundraising campaign can be found here.