How Do We Teach Charity?
At the heart of Yew Chung International School of Beijing lies a strong commitment to charity and giving. These principles form a core part of our education and are exemplified in our work with Seeds of Hope. Mr Casey Fanning, Character and Moral Education Development Officer, discusses the importance of charity at YCIS Beijing, and other ways in which we aim to grow and develop the whole person.
What is Seeds of Hope?
Any discussion of giving at YCIS Beijing needs to open with Seeds of Hope. Seeds of Hope is our foundation-wide expression of charity that was begun following the devastating Sichuan earthquake in 2008. Seeds of Hope partners with local and overseas non-profit organisations to bring better education and opportunities to not only disadvantaged children, but anyone from a marginalised community.
How do we fundraise for Seeds of Hope?
Each year, schools across the Yew Chung and Yew Wah network join forces to hold fundraisers for Seeds of Hope.
Annual large-scale events like our PO Charity Gala play a major role. With the combined effort of the YCIS Beijing Parent Organisation and YCIS Beijing staff, we were most fortunate to raise a net total of around RMB 450,000 for the Seeds of Hope common project. This is a singular charity that all YCIS and YWIES schools give towards. For our common project, we partnered with Kids International Ministries, to help build a much-needed secondary school in an impoverished area in the Philippines.
In conjunction with the Gala, we also launched the Piggy Bank Project. Students from all of our schools were given small piggy banks outfitted with QR codes, and collected a substantial portion of the total raised amount (RMB 173,000).
As well as the large scale, foundation-wide fundraising events, each YCIS and YWIES school maintains their own local charity events. These are put on by the staff from that particular school, or by the local PO and student body. We want to embody the unity of a common project, as well as the flexibility for individual compassion projects.
This is seen in our own school events such as Global Community Day which helps raise funds for Seeds of Hope. This year, our GCD procured RMB 100,000 – no mean feat!
How else are our students involved with Seeds of Hope?
For the last year, Seeds of Hope has been partnered with Kids International Ministries to build a secondary school in Manilla, the Philippines. Just before the summer, Ms Rachel Li and I took 14 YCIS Beijing students to Manila to meet the school children and lend a helping hand with some preliminary tasks. It was a very memorable trip which you can read about in more detail here. Excitingly next week, the construction work on the new school will begin! More updates to follow.
Do we fundraise for other charities?
We absolutely fundraise for other charities. It’s important that our students are able to find causes close to their hearts and pursue them too.
CAS – or Creativity, Action, Service, is a core part of the IB Diploma curriculum. Students must take part in a project outside of normal school life in order to pass this module and many choose charity. Every year students arrange fundraisers from bake sales to charity dinners in aid of local charities including; orphanages, cleft palate surgery, animal rescue and relief efforts.
What is Character Education at YCIS Beijing?
Many students at the school will know of me through my role in Character Education. In Primary I have monthly Character Ed classes where we explore and apply character traits to complement their academic, social and personal development. In Secondary these themes are explored in assemblies, charity projects, tutor times and school trips. Investigating and discussing these traits is all part of our holistic approach to education and, we believe, will help our students on their journey to becoming well-rounded and socially responsible citizens.
What else do I do?
This year I am working closely with staff to incorporate our holistic education into all areas of school, life and learning. This is best understood as; Student Wellness. This holistic approach will involve input from all teaching staff, especially our school counsellor and head of student support, Rachel George.
In addition, for the last year we have been working on identifying, defining and implementing a set of soft skills that we deem essential for success in school and beyond. We have boiled these down to five distinct areas: collaboration, self-regulation, perseverance, innovation and critical thinking. One of my key focuses is working with teachers to nurture and develop these Dimensions of Learning in our students.
What’s it all for?
Through our work with Seeds of Hope and other charities, character development and holistic education, we aim to raise students who are thoughtful, compassionate and responsible in all walks of life. We strongly believe that this is the foundation of success and happiness, and lies at the heart of our endeavor to raise Global Citizens fit for the 21st century.