Self-Initiated Service Projects

Article by: Liam R.

Edited by: Carmel L.

Photo by: Andy S.

ISM never fails to provide a wide variety of service opportunities for students to give back to their communities. Groups like SPECS, KASAMA, and CCV are a few examples of ISM service clubs. However, some students choose to take service to the next level, pursuing their own service activities independent of ISM. We caught up with a few students who have come up with their own, unique way to give back to society.

Junior Lorenzo Y. is one student who has decided to pursue independent service; he is part of the organization One Million Lights (OML). He explains, “OML is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide solar lamps to off grid communities who rely on kerosene or generators for light.” Though these lamps may seem to have a small effect, they can greatly impact the lives of families who have no source of light once the sun sets, or others who are forced to spend a large amount of money on gas or generators. “I joined OML because I was really interested in how they help the less fortunate in a unique way,” he comments. Inspired by his first service trip with the organization, he created the ISM chapter of OML in 9th grade to share this opportunity with his peers. Overall, the ISM chapter has managed to donate over 150 lights to 2 communities.

Another student who has chosen to work on service outside of ISM is Joaquin V., a senior. “My organization, Kuyate, works with Virlanie Orphanage in Makati. The main goal is to provide the kids living in Virlanie (aged 4-7) with an older sibling figure, something which they lack, as this is very important for children in their developing years,” he explains. Similar to Lorenzo, he was inspired by a trip he went on a few years ago. Joaquin said their greatest achievement so far was “when [they] created [their] sub-program, Teach to Reach. In this program [they] send a group of students to Virlanie in order to aid the caretakers in being teaching assistants.”

Sophomore Isabel S. has found a way to do service through one of her passions. “My service organization is called Girls Will Code (GWC). GWC is a youth-driven and female-driven organization that encourages girls to participate in STEM,” she describes, enthusiastically. She originally founded the organization after recognizing the lack of women in STEM and identifying this as an issue. “I asked my parents and sisters for help in coding, but they had no idea what that really was.” She fondly remembers when GWC brought over 100 girls from local schools to a tech workspace. “I really enjoyed seeing all of the girls have fun solving problems and seeing them get excited when they got something correct,” she says.

Your service doesn’t have to be limited to ISM and the clubs it offers. These are just a few examples of how students have been able to put their own spin on service by creating something which suits their interests. With dedication, you can find the type of service you enjoy in order to make your own distinct impact on our society.