Written by: Sara
Edited by: Chris
Visual by: Issy
ICARE is a central part of ISM’s service experience. Every year, students and teachers work with service partners to develop a greater understanding of how the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals apply to our surrounding community. Some groups leave school for a week to carry out on-site service, while other groups welcome service partners onto our campus.
This year, however, students are attending online school from home and are unable to make direct contact with service partners. Therefore, many people, including the administration and the service council, have made great efforts to ensure that ICARE can take place in a modified, safe form: ICARE X.
Students were assigned to sites based on their advisories and spent time planning service activities that could take place online. They then carried them out using video conferencing apps such as Google Meet, having the chance to speak with service partners in the process. For example, students working with the Papaya High School focused on games that allowed students from both schools to form a deeper connection with each other through sharing opinions and having fun. Each group also conducted creative fundraisers to raise community awareness for their respective causes.
Inevitably, there were shortcomings compared to previous years, primarily due to the absence of face-to-face interaction. Students worked with peers from their own advisory and one other in their year level, which meant that there was no mixing and collaborating between grades. Many also expressed regret that they were extremely constrained in the types of service activities they could carry out online. It was much more challenging to form bonds with service partners, and this difficulty was exacerbated by technological errors that acted as another barrier in the way of smooth communication.
However, despite its troubles, ICARE X was still a meaningful and worthwhile experience for the student body. “I definitely learned how to quickly adapt to unexpected situations,” says Angela, a sophomore whose ICARE X concluded just last week. “The time allocated for preparation was short and we weren’t able to anticipate all the possible complications. We had created a pretty solid plan beforehand, but still found ourselves needing to improvise at times. That was challenging, but it taught me how to cope with crisis and I feel like I’ve grown as a person.”
Despite the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic, we have fortunately been able to continue spreading positivity and love in our community. Hopefully we can take a more direct approach next year, so that this atmosphere can become even more intrinsic to ICARE, and our lives as a whole.