At the start of the second quarter, the ISM HS and MS Community Service club set up a goal that seemed reachable: to complete at least one big community service activity before the semester ends. We achieved our goal the day we visited the Boys’ Training School / Orphanage in Yangon on Saturday, December 3rd.
On that day, there were about 21 community service students and 8 teachers who went on the trip. Living there are about 150 boys, many of them are orphans or come from families unable to support them financially. They range in age from about 6 years up to about 15 years old with 3 students already in the tenth grade.
We brought with us clothes, shoes, books (exercise books and Burmese stories), hygienic materials, stationary, and a WASHING MACHINE! The washing machine was a last minute surprise that was donated by the family of a CS student (Pike). All other supplies were bought from the funds raised from the Book Buffet, CS student donations, and from funds from the previous year.
On that special Saturday the we all headed out to the orphanage at 8:00 am. We were eager to get started on our activities which included games, storytelling, English teaching, art, and sports. We had prepared everything ahead of time and when we got to the orphanage, we were excitedly greeted by a group of children who were just as excited as we were.
Our activities such as sports and games truly brought the kids out of their shells as their athletic and fun side emerged. We had the boys sweating and bouncing around everywhere after these activities. Some of our activities such as storytelling, art and English teaching allowed many boys to show their inner talents in listening, reading, drawing, painting and acting. It was nice to see the boys truly engaged in their projects at hand.
In art, the boys could ask for their favorite character to be painted on their faces or hands. That way, they could be reminded of the fun they had once we left. There were many magnificent works of art drawn by our ISM students in the face-painting booth. We felt that all of the activities were both interesting and exciting for the boys at the school. The nice thing was that they got to experience all the different activities as we rotated groups every half an hour.
We stayed at the orphanage for about 3 hours and cherished every minute of it. At the very end of our trip, all the kids from the school lined up together to say goodbye to us. At that moment, we could almost feel the sense of joy in the air and it came to dawn on us; Community Service is not about how much money we can donate or how many things we buy. It’s not about changing lives or moving mountains. Looking at their genuine smiles and hearing their giddy laughter, we realized that Community Service is all about the happiness, the joy, the laughter, and the hope that we can bring to somebody’s life, even for 3 short hours. In the end, we reached our ultimate goal.
Special thanks to: Mr.Todd, Mr.Nick, Ms.Katie, Ms.Meghan, Ms.Zoe, Mr. Wyatt, Mr. Nilan, and his friend Mr. Jeff and the entire Community Service group for participating in this special trip. And to the Boys’ Training School Orphanage for letting us spend this most wonderful day with them!