By Hana Mori, Grade 10, HS Campus Journalism Activity, East Campus
Sports and Activities with YMCA Student Care Centre is one of the numerous local services happening in UWCSEA East. Students of this service organise and lead activities for the YMCA children who come visit our campus each week. The service aims to stimulate mutual understanding and respect through interactions, simply bringing happiness and a slight 'unusualness' in daily life.
The first several meetings before October break were the investigation and preparation stages. After visiting the centre to officially meet the service partner (and the children!) for the first time, we all divided up in small groups to be in charge of a session each for which we planned exciting activities based on a chosen theme.
The first session was successfully held in the beginning of November. This was based on “sustainability”, one of the core ideas in the UWCSEA curriculum. To make a rather educative topic more engaging and approachable for the children, the activities were centered around arts and crafts. Over the break, we all collected toilet paper rolls, which added up to nearly 80. The activity was to “recycle” these toilet paper rolls into pencil stands.
Through painting, coloring, drawing, cutting, and sticking, the dull brown toilet paper rolls were transformed into lovely products! The kids really seemed pleased, grinning and giggling throughout the session. But not only the kids from YMCA, the blue-shirted East High School students seemed to be enjoying the creative process as well. Helping out the children, many were drawing or painting, struggling with the troublesome requests. Some even ended up creating their own pencil stand. Others helped organise some mini games to play with the kids who had already finished.
By the end of the session, the initial nervousness between the UWCSEA students and YMCA children had completely disappeared. The activity was definitely successful in creating positive relationships between the two groups. As a group, we all shared our ideas, reflecting on how recycling - what we had just done with the toilet paper rolls - would contribute to the world’s sustainability. Such interactions with different communities and exposure to new perspectives are experiences to be cherished - this must be the key to open mindedness. Moreover, through an intriguing activity, the complex issues of the environment perhaps became more familiar for the kids. If the idea of “recycling” remains in everyone’s minds even vaguely, there must be a potential for change.
As time for goodbye approached, the kids exclaimed with a beaming smile, “Thank you UWC students!”. It was a moment of great fulfillment; everyone from the service group were already looking forward to the next session.