Upper School Change Makers

ISP’s Mission aims to nurture people who can “adapt and contribute responsibly to our changing world.” Obviously to this end, learners need repeated practice in applying their skills in various contexts (a key ISP learning principle.)

This week, four Upper School students shared why they started their community service project, what they’ve learned through this process and how this experience has impacted them as learners, all while positively impacting the wider community.

“Difference making can fuel a greater motivation for learning communication or taking on a bigger problem than the learner thought they could possibly handle. When a learner knows they are going to impact a real person, place or challenge, it drives deeper learning. . .the best preparation for a future full of novelty and complexity is helping young people make a contribution here and now (as this) builds agency, collaboration and subject matter expertise.” Tom Vander Ark, Difference Making at the Heart of Learning

Community Service Projects

Many Upper School students are involved in Community Service Projects which contribute positively to our local and global community. These clubs are student-run, with oversight by our Service Learning Coordinator, Pavlina Koukalova, and supported by other faculty, as needed.  

These projects exemplify our ISP learner profile as students are required to think critically and creatively, work cooperatively and independently, and communicate effectively to successfully implement their ideas as a Change Maker.

Watch Ayla’s video here

Please listen to Ayla here, a leader of the ISP Community Service Club, explain how they have adapted during the COVID restrictions to continue to find ways to make a difference. 

Please read and listen to the following young leaders who share what they’re doing, why, and the impact their specific project has had on themselves as learners.

Blood Drive & Kurandza

Watch Rhia’s video here

Rhia, who you can hear explaining her work here, is raising awareness in our community about the vital importance of donating blood to our health care providers. After researching the issue, her team has created posters, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) and an Instagram page to inform younger audiences. 

Rhia is also involved in the Kurandza club, an organization whose mission is The ISP club will raise funds for educational materials and create educational videos for the girls. Through her community service experiences, Rhia feels she has gained invaluable perspective about her privileged situation and the possibility of making a difference in others’ lives, even during these challenging COVID times. 

Happy Caravan

Watch Nicole’s video here

Nicole, as she explains in this video, has been involved with the Happy Caravan club since 2019. Inspired by her volunteering experience at the refugee school in Greece, Nicole continues to support the education of these refugees. The group’s efforts have recently been awarded the International Impact Award.

 Nicole reflects on how her participation in this club has increased her confidence in presenting, as well as her creative thinking skills when addressing challenges. Thank you, Nicole, for your long-term commitment and leadership in supporting these refugees and keeping our ISP-Happy Caravan partnership alive.

Hygiene Drives for Homeless

Watch Delanie’s video here

Inspired with an idea when traveling last summer and realizing the amplified need for sanitation during the pandemic, Delanie (whose video you can watch here) came up with the idea of collecting hygiene products for a local organization that works with homeless people.

Given the huge success of the first drive in December, Delanie is “driven” to launch another one in March so please consider supporting her efforts. 

Delanie reflects that the biggest impact on her learning was in the area of communication, both in working with a local organization as well as getting the word out to the various members of our community through multiple media channels. Lastly, Delanie leaves us with an important message to “help others as a little goes a long way!” She also reminds us that we have so much for which to be grateful and positive during these challenging times. Thank you, Delanie for your inspiration and for making a difference.

Love for our Elders

Watch Lexi’s video here

Love for our Elders: We have all been missing our extended families due to anti-COVID travel and health restrictions. Not having seen either of her grandmothers for more than a year, Lexi (whose video you can watch here), decided to do something for other elders who are separated from their families due to the pandemic.

She joined the letter writing efforts of the student-initiated campaign, Love for our Elders. This organization’s goal is to bring hope and belonging to seniors in more than 70 countries by writing a handwritten letter. The feeling of isolation has more significantly  increased in this population and often negatively impact their mental and physical wellbeing.

We thank Lexi for all the time and energy she has given to bring “love to our elders” around the school. As she reflects, she has learned a great deal about collaboration and that there are “endless opportunities to make a difference”. We hope you will join Lexi’s efforts which will be starting in March. 

We are very proud of our ISP Change Makers and look forward to highlighting more specific projects in the coming months. Meanwhile, please contribute or join in their efforts to make a positive difference for others in our local and global communities.