ISB & iCare: Together We Care
At the beginning of the semester, International School Bangkok (ISB) connected with iCare Thailand, a local charity committed to long-lasting and meaningful community development through projects that empower youth and help the underprivileged. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they provide essential food and supplies to those in need.
What began as a connection between our High School Service Learning Coordinator and a local charity soon snowballed into a campus-wide initiative to help support and enrich our local communities. Students and staff rallied together, both during ISB Virtual School and in-person learning, to support iCare through a host of creative fundraisers, donations, and food drives.
Commitment in High School
Our ISB students hit the ground running when the semester kicked off and many of our student-led clubs and activities decided to focus their efforts on iCare this year. In the High School, the action for iCare actually began this past summer when 2 students, Matthew & Pawin (Mark), ran a series of Virtual Gaming Tournaments to fundraise for iCare as part of their CAS project - a Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) Project that students completing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme do. They raised over 16,000 Baht in total for the iCare Foundation, and other students began using their project model for their fundraising efforts.
Early in the semester, High School students formed a new club, called iCare, which aimed to support iCare through a variety of awareness campaigns, fundraisers, and events. Since the beginning of the semester they have put on a food drive and an “ISB’s Got Talent” show fundraiser which raised 15,000 Baht in total for iCare. Currently they are running a joint fundraiser with another club, JHL, called “1000 Paper Cranes” where for every 40 baht (1 meal) donated they will fold 1 paper crane, write your name on it, then hang them in the school cafeteria. In Japan, 1,000 paper cranes (senbazuru) can make a wish come true - these students are wishing to provide food for families in Thailand through iCare.
Creativity in Middle School
In our Middle School, all grade levels participated in the virtual fundraiser “Climb a Stair for iCare” where students teamed up and together tried to climb various mountains by climbing a certain number of stairs. This kept our students active during ISB Virtual School and gave them the opportunity to help others by fundraising for iCare - in total the Middle School raised more than 100,000 Baht through this event alone.
Advisory classes for the respective grade levels have also been actively involved in supporting iCare. A series of advisory lessons taught students about empathy during the pandemic, by walking them through a series of simulations where they had to make decisions and “walk a mile in another’s shoes.” At the end of the lesson series, advisory students were asked by the Middle School COVID Relief Club to bring in one type of food so that together, all the Middle School advisories could build food packages for iCare Thailand to deliver to those who need them. Ada a MS student said, "one important lesson I learned is how grateful we should all be for having all the resources we need to survive, but also how impactful one community can be when we collaborate with each other to help those in need.”
Up next is an exciting coin competition between the grade levels in which points are earned by putting money into respective grade level bottles in the Middle School office, coins equal points added and bills equal points taken away. So if a Grade 7 student drops 10 Baht into the Grade 7 bottle that’s 10 points for their grade. But bills are negative, so the Grade 7 student could put a 100 Baht bill into Grade 8’s bottle and bring them down 100 points.
Care in Elementary School
An up-and-coming Elementary School initiative is the “Donation of Cuddles” campaign. As Thailand transitions into the cold season, iCare supports more than 2,000 dormitory students in government schools in the mountains of northern Thailand through their ‘Dorms of Hope’ project. The Homes of Hope Dormitory project has set up Dormitories in 18 Schools across northern Thailand to make it possible for every child to have access to education. To support these students, our Elementary School will be collecting and donating “cuddles” in the form of blankets and stuffed toys. Word is that the Middle and High School will also be joining in on this endeavor.
School & Staff Rally Together for iCare
When the school year started in virtual school, the Middle & High School ran a “Drop Off to Pick Up” drive to collect donations of food, toys, and books when students came in to pick up their supplies and technology for Virtual School. The whole school - students, staff, and parents - came together to celebrate our annual Peace Day event albeit virtually this year. Students showed their support for iCare by donating money and rice.
Our Athletics department also dedicated their Panther Run series for fundraising for iCare. The Panther Run series is a series of community-wide events where everyone runs for a cause - this year so far they have raised 3,455 baht for iCare. Additionally, our entire faculty and staff were given the option to donate a portion of their salaries to iCare either through a monthly, annual, or one-time donation. It was incredible to see the generosity of our faculty, acting out our values and attributes.
A Community that Creates, Learns, & Enriches
These are only a number of the ways that ISB, the community, and in particular the ISB students create a social impact in Thailand. These efforts have not been done for reward or recognition, but out of compassion, kindness and understanding in the wake of a global pandemic that we are all global citizens with a responsibility to contribute positively to society through our intellectual, creative and humanitarian efforts.
We are proud of the heart our students, faculty, and staff have shown this semester. It has been wonderful to see all the hard work our community has put into supporting iCare and our surrounding communities. Watch this space to see what we do next!