YCIS Pudong Students Receive Grants at 2019 ACAMIS Service Awards
At the recent 2019 Association of China and Mongolia International Schools (ACAMIS) Spring Conference Opening Session, four YCIS Pudong Year 11 students were honoured as they received awards and ACAMIS Service Learning grants for their two charitable project proposals. During the Opening Session of the conference, YCIS Pudong Co-Principal Mr Damien Hehir accepted the awards on behalf of the students.
The winning project bids came from two different teams who have taken on the responsibility to helm charitable service projects that have been up and running at the school for several years.
Students Hui Wen and Hui Shing worked together on their application for the ‘Shoebox Appeal’, which received a stunning grant of $1500 from ACAMIS. Hui Wen and Hui Shing will help run this annual campaign, continuing the hard work done this year by YCIS Pudong Upper Secondary student and Student Council Co-President, Shu Min. Launched five years ago, the Shoebox Appeal sees the school community come together at Christmas time each year to help prepare packages of toys and essentials for migrant children in need. According to Hui Wen and Hui Shing, the project links to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 1, which vows for everyone to have equal rights and access to basic services and resources. “We want to continue this initiative as we believe everyone deserves equal opportunities and access to basic necessities, no matter who you are,” said Hui Wen. The Shoebox Appeal is one of many ways YCIS students seek to give back to the wider community. “Some projects – like the Shoebox Appeal – help us to expand our leadership skills, but they truly help others, too, and I think that’s what YCIS really strives to do,” said Alex, who is also the current Co-President of the YCIS Pudong Secondary Student Council.
The second grant of $500 was awarded by the ACAMIS judges to fellow Year 11 students Ann, Alexandra and Mary, who will be in charge of organising next year’s MAD Run. The MAD Run – Make a Difference Run – is an annual fun run that was started by YCIS Pudong Upper Secondary students five years ago and involves YCIS students, parents, teachers, and staff running, walking, scootering, cycling, or even rollerblading around a 5km course near the YCIS Pudong ECE and Primary campus. Rather than being a competitive race, the MAD Run is a community event that gets people together for a good cause: raising awareness of cancer and partnering with a local charity to which the funds raised will be donated. For the 2019 MAD Run, the beneficiary charity group was More Than Aware, a healthy lifestyle support group based in Shanghai that empowers women to be proactive in the prevention of and recovery from breast cancer. For the 2020 MAD Run, Ann, Alexandra and Mary will be assuming the organising duties from current Year 12 students Nathan, Oi In, Stanley, and Vicky, who did a tremendous job organising this year’s run. As part of their Community Action Service (CAS) learning which is a component of their studies in the Secondary programme at YCIS Pudong, students work on many charitable service projects. Mary recently shared her thoughts about being part of a school that values charity, saying “We do a lot of charity events at our school, and I think it’s imperative for us to understand that we are fortunate to be able to study at a school that values helping others.”
This year, Ann, Alexandra and Mary were also involved in service projects outside of Shanghai and even China, including a Seeds of Hope trip to South East Asia in the first semester. Ann shared highlights about the impact of this trip, saying “This year, we went to the Philippines to help with the construction of a new secondary school. We also helped at a maternity clinic, distributed food in villages, and we helped to build a wall. It involved much heavy lifting and was a very new experience. After we came back, we realised how lucky we are, and we were very grateful for our lives here because we know that other people don’t have the same opportunities that we do and we want to continue to help others in need.”
Both Anne and Mary also noted how participating in and overseeing service projects can help build students’ skills. “By applying for these grants, for example, we developed our organisational skills, and this is important not just now but also for our future,” said Mary. “Organizing a big event like the MAD Run will also help us in developing our communication skills,” added Anne.
From coordinating with sponsors, recruiting volunteers, and working with their teachers, planning for the 2020 MAD Run will start early at the beginning of the next school year. The students noted that they are looking forward to working with their CAS Coordinator, Mr Dudley Stuurman, on the event, with Anne saying “I think Mr Stuurman will provide us with fantastic guidance and help in organising the event because he already has so much prior knowledge. We truly appreciated his support when we first decided to apply for an ACAMIS grant because he helped share a number of important considerations, and I think this was instrumental in writing our successful application.”
It is clear to see that, with the help of the school, their families, and the generosity of associations and organisations such as ACAMIS, students can truly impact the lives of others during their time at YCIS Pudong. We look forward to hearing about the students’ success during the next school year as they oversee the 2019 Shoebox Appeal and the 2020 MAD Run, putting these significant grants to use to help others in need, and to hearing about the many other charitable service projects that happen continuously at YCIS Pudong – a true hallmark of the school.