What’s In Store For iCARE 2022

Written by: Sofia

Edited by: Erich

Visual by: Zoe

Heads, hearts, and hands. Metro and provincial sites. Breaking social barriers and making new friends. All of that is back in iCARE 2022!

International Community Actively Responding to the Environment, more commonly known as iCARE, is an annual event in which HS students embark on a week-long trip where they respond to social issues that affect the Philippines. It represents one of ISM’s core values: service, serving both as a service trip for underclassmen and an optional Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) project for upperclassmen. After two years of hosting this event online through iCAREx, iCARE is now ready to resume in-person again from December 12th to 15th. 

Preparations for the week-long service trip have already begun. Students chose four options from a total of 13 metro sites and 15 provincial sites, each having specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and social issues they focus on. 

Mr. Woods, the CAS coordinator, explains that there is an algorithm that sorts students into sites depending on their choices while also ensuring that there is an even distribution of grade levels, gender, and nationality in each site. On the topic of the importance of iCARE, Mr. Woods says, “What’s the purpose of this? Is iCARE about me or what I can give? It’s not about what I take, it’s what I can do.”

Now, each student’s iCARE site has been assigned and iCARE homerooms have started to take place. In each iCARE homeroom, there are ongoing discussions about activities, any prior research, and materials needed on the week of iCARE itself. 

The iCARE Council has played a major role in planning this year’s event. Minkyu, the iCARE Council Co-President, explains, “We organize such information about the service sites we would be working together with Mr. Woods and basic ICARE Homeroom activities, ICARE Challenges, and many different ICARE-related activities to spread the importance and significance of this event.” He also adds that the council hopes that iCARE would bring back the service spirit in ISM that was weakened due to the difficulty of actively participating in service activities during online learning and that the students take this as an opportunity to collaborate with others for the good of the community they are helping.

Out of the four batches, only the seniors have experienced face-to-face iCARE in the past. Usually, the freshmen are the only ones new to iCARE, but because of the pandemic, sophomores and juniors will also have this as their first in-person iCARE. 

Gellert (12) expresses, “My iCARE experience in freshman year was not only eye-opening but very fun! If you go into iCARE with an open mind, then you will have the best time which also reciprocates to the people around you.” Additionally, he mentions that he is still expecting the same sense and community during iCARE. 

Meanwhile, freshman Carolina exclaimed, “My iCARE homeroom, they’re a very nice group of people. We’re all very excited to go to a group of people in need and help them.” 

These statements just go to show that beyond forming connections with people outside of ISM, iCARE is also a chance to develop bonds with students in other batches as well.

Overall, iCARE is a wonderful opportunity for ISM students to explore more of the Philippines while educating themselves on the social issues that exist in the country. iCARE is fast approaching and the excitement for it can be felt around the campus. 

It’s time to get in touch with the spirit of service within you and embrace that to make the most impact you can. Step outside of your comfort zone and interact with students from different batches; that’s a great first step to making friends. 

Mark your calendars, stay tuned for more announcements, and get ready for the first in-person iCARE in two years!