By Bernice delos Reyes, Grade 10

Service learning has always been an integral part of the Bearcat agenda.. As advocates of giving back to the community, ISM’s Service Learning Council (SLC), has strived to make service a more creative and exciting activity for both our service partners and the student body. Composed of Bianca Jimenez (President), Gaea Morales (Vice President), Bernice delos Reyes (PRO), and Mari Guzman (Secretary), the SLC launched the “DO More” campaign this school year, encouraging fellow Bearcats to look past service as a required activity, and instead, as an avenue to making a bigger impact on the lives of other people.

When typhoon Maring hit Luzon on August of 2013, more than two million families were left without shelters.. The ISM community was quick to respond to the calamity, quickly filling the Disaster Relief Fund with monetary donations from all over the world. As an immediate response, the SLC released the “Bearcat Spirit is Waterproof” campaign to encourage students to aid in relief operations for the typhoon victims. The Fine Arts Theater lobby was flooded with donations like canned goods, noodles, rice, toiletries, and clothes. Portions of these goods were distributed amongst the affected service partners of ISM, and a great portion was donated to the families of ISM’s hard-working custodians.

In line with the “Do More” campaign, SLC redirected its route and instead of supporting one sole organization, it aimed to create bigger service trips and activities that allowed for the interconnection and unity of other ISM service clubs. These trips would create dynamic collaboration and understanding between the mentioned clubs, and ultimately demonstrate various ways of serving to the local community.Displaying P1040291.JPG

Hence in October 2013, 40 children from SPECS and Child Hope were taken to Manila Ocean Park, Manila’s very own oceanarium near Manila Bay. The kids were buddied up with ISM students and had the chance to see live sea animals in their natural habitat.

Later, in March, the SLC collaborated with Holy Family and SPECS for a trip to Museong Pambata (Children’s Museum), a famous child-friendly museum in Roxas Boulevard. The children and our ISM students had the chance to visit different thematic rooms with information on Philippine History, Biology, Ecology, and the like. The kids were also able to do some role play as well, as some of the rooms provided make-believe toys based on life professions.

In response to the devastating aftermath in the Visayas region following Haiyan, many different organizations and alumni from all over the world came together to contribute to the Disaster Relief Fund. The SLC not only helped in acquiring monetary donations, but also in spreading the spirit of service through selling Bearcats for Haiyan patches. 100% of the proceeds of these patches went to the Disaster Relief Fund.Displaying P1040239.JPG

Although the Disaster Relief Fund is essential for short-term, immediate aid in times of typhoons and other disasters, there is a greater need for long-term, sustainable aid within the communities of our service partners. With this, the newly established Sustainability Fund was officially launched on March 12, 2014.

This fund is designed to support long-term sustainable projects with ISM’s service partners. Initially funded by the Prom Committee and the PTA, this fund supports the efforts of the school in achieving sustainability. In the near future, clubs with prospect sustainable projects may send an application to the SLC, and if approved, will be able to receive an amount from the said fund to seed their sustainable project.

As its first endeavor, the Sustainability Fund has allocated the first donation to buy safety equipment, tools and machinery necessary for the workers Berdesaco Foundation. These equipment will be used to produce souvenir models of jeepneys, tricycles, and airplanes out of recycled soda cans, which will then be sold by the foundation. Alongside, this foundation, which has been ISM’s long time service partner, also takes ISM’s used tarps and recreates them as bags and purses. The new equipment provided by the fund will increase the efficiency and the quality of their products, which are all currently handmade.

Ultimately, SLC challenges the student body to DO MORE through their latest projects and changes in their goals. The council aims to communicate that it is possible to DO MORE in big and small capacities.. After all, it’s not about the quantity, but the quality of the work that one is giving to the our community.

Logos courtesy of Bianca Jimenez

Photographs courtesy of the Service Learning Council

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