We were delighted with the efforts of our community this year when so many of our members participated in several of the student driven service projects. Combining service to the community with curriculum-based learning is a core component of the International Baccalaureate (IB) and an integral part of learning beyond the classroom at ICS.
The IB Programme is specifically designed to give students the chance to apply their knowledge in real-world settings. And service learning, it is believed, better prepares students for a future of active citizenship. At our school, experiences are provided and then linked in the classroom through discussion, assignments, and other activities for reflection purposes.
ICS is the only school in Zurich to hold membership in the prestigious Round Square organisation. As outlined in the Round Square official statement, the organisation aims to "connect and collaborate and to offer world-class programmes and experiences that develop global competence, character and confidence in our students." Many of the initiatives taking place during December are led by students who are members of Round Square.
Benefits for youngsters taking part in acts of service include learning about a cause, gaining empathy, obtaining a new perspective, improved self-esteem and making new friends and contacts. The following includes a few of the recent highlights from ICS student engagement in civic service and non-profit organisations during the time leading up to the holiday season. The Round Square Caring for Others Campaign was a great success. According to one of the organisers, "The generosity of our community has been evident in the huge support received to this year's Food Drive." The Food Drive Action Group of Grade 10 students managed to collect more than 30 boxes of food and personal care products that were then delivered to a local charity - Sozialwerke Pfarrer Sieber. This Zurich-based non-profit assists vulnerable individuals with food and shelter needs. More details about the organisation can be found on their website here.
The Sparkle Foundation may be already familiar to readers as many students and faculty have been actively involved with this non-profit organisation that aims to create brighter futures for vulnerable children through education, nutrition, healthcare, and empowerment, in Malawi. Recently, the 2021 Sparkle Christmas Special, reimagined as a virtual gala and organised by an ICS student, attracted 6'000 viewers and more than £7'600 in donations. Performances by students from around the world showcased talents whilst raising funds for the new Sparkle centre to open in Malawi in 2022. To learn more about the foundation, please see here. The Sparkle Christmas Special donation page can be found here.
Also actively engaged with Sparkle Malawi efforts is our Grade 11 Knitathon team members who held their fifth annual event at ICS. One of this year's organisers was extremely pleased with the efforts this year. "We are very proud of the continued efforts of our community to knit the squares that are then made into blankets. We also raised the funds to pay for the postage charges to send the blankets to Malawi." The latest shipment of knitted goods arrived at Sparkle Malawi recently arrived in Malawi. The group of Grade 11 students are committed to continue their knitting to make these much-needed blankets. Already underway are the plans for the next knitathon in January 2022. Upon reflection, student comments included that they were "surprised at the amount of collaboration involved to reach mutually agreed to solutions to problems." And that they, "Take pleasure in collaboration and seeing everything come to fruition." Being involved in a hands-on activity as opposed to remote work was also an aspect they were pleased about.
Another event taking place during the month of December by our senior students is Dressember. This activity is described as more than just an awareness raising programme. It's an opportunity to join a global movement and many ICS students and teaching staff have been embracing it for the past few years. The worldwide Dressember endeavour comprises a community of more than 32'000 advocates utilizing fashion and creativity to support prevention, intervention and survivor empowerment programmes. Participants dress up during the month of December wearing their best fashionable clothing - ties, blazers, dresses. The funds raised through sponsorship are directed to providing essential support to trafficking survivors. More details can be found here. See some recent images on their Instagram page here.
The 2 x Weihnachten - Christmas in a Shoebox fundraising event received a generous amount of donations this year. The shoeboxes containing non-perishables (toiletries) and food were collected, sorted and sent to the organisations involved – a joint campaign with the Swiss Red Cross to help brighten the holidays for those in need. More details can be found on their website here. The motivation for this group of volunteers was summed up by one of the Grade 5 Round Square Action Group coordinators, "We started our collection project to bring joy to many families in need."
A big Thank You to all those involved in the organisations of these events for their time and efforts to accomplish the tasks at hand. We also greatly appreciate the generous contributions and support received from our community members.
Wishing everyone a Peaceful and Happy Holiday Season.