Article By: Mae Kirkpatrick
With events such as Saturday Services and the annual International Community Actively Responding to the Environment (ICARE) program, it is clear that service is a vital part of the ISM experience. Maddie McCormick, a new senior, quotes, “I really love how service oriented the school is, and events like ICARE are great opportunities for students to have fun and give to the community. I was nervous with service hours being mandatory and how it could cause students to feel like it’s an obligation more than a privilege, but that’s not the case [here].” Now, what exactly makes service at ISM so special? Service is interwoven into many aspects of ISM as students are constantly surrounded with new ways to get involved in the Philippine community.
Annually, ISM holds a variety of events that work with the school’s service partners to raise funds—these events include Battle of the Bands, Family Fun Day, and even Prom. Each service partner has its own student council that upholds the bond between the school and the service partner. Mr. Neil Woods, the Creativity Action Service (CAS) Activities Coordinator states, “Within [these councils] is the deep commitment to student empowerment, having students lead all the way through.” He adds that they “give students the coaching to be leaders through the process,” thereby benefiting both the students in their future endeavours and the communities in the Philippines we work to help.
The act of teaching the importance of service not only manifests itself in ISM’s extracurricular options, but also in the school curriculum. ISM incorporates the issues related to the service groups (such as poverty, development, wage gaps, etc.) into class lessons, teaching students to also consider the deeper impacts of global issues. This can be observed most prominently within courses such as Geography and Economics. Mr. Woods comments, “Within a Spanish class you will be dealing [and discussing] the issues, through Spanish. This is really powerful.”
Service being a huge part of ISM allows for students to achieve new perspectives and opportunities that may not be as possible in other schools. As Mr. Woods phrases it, students’ passion for service “is not something that’s layered on… it’s often within them. What you want to do is create opportunities for them to show their goodness. I think that’s what [ISM does] well, and I think it’s the diversity of choice that is our strength as well.” As such, whether you will be continuing with your studies at ISM until graduation or if you will be moving on soon to new schools, it is obvious that service at ISM is something that we should take full advantage of.