Throughout the 4 years of MYP, I have participated in different service activities. As a scout of the 1st Hong Kong Canadian Scout Group, I have been conducting service annually such as helping out host the Scouts booth for the Family Fun Fair, and also placing poppies at the Sai Wan War Cemetery. These are some other service opportunities I have been in:
- Reading books at Fresh Fish Traders’ School in Grade 8
- Crossroads Grade 8
- Preparing and serving lunch to underprivileged in Shum Shui Po
- Planning a Beach Clean Up Activity at Sandy Bay Beach
1. How did you become more aware of your own strengths and areas for growth? How did you grow through this service? What areas do you need to work on?
As I went on through the years, I became more aware of some different strengths I have. For example, I am a person who can quickly develop a passion of things that I have done, and I was able to apply that into the service work. Even though sometimes it can feel tiring, but I would constantly remind myself to have this positive attitude and that this is for the greater good of everyone. The satisfying feeling I get motivates me even more and the group of people
A weakness I think I have is developing relationships with other people that I don’t know, and it is often quite hard to break that barrier. However, throughout the 4 years I have gotten better and I am able to communicate better with people I don’t know. The experience of meeting a lot of other people from service activities has given me a lot of chances to develop my communication skills and I am able to open myself better, which helps the other person open themselves better as well and developing a relationship quicker.
2. How did you undertake challenges that developed new skills?What did you do for service that challenged you and pushed you to acquire a new skill?What does that evidence look like?
One out of the many challenges that I have face in my service opportunities was during the Family Fun Fair. I was in charge of the table maze booth for the scouts obstacle course, and the maze was covered with black cloth, therefore the insides were really dark. We let a little child, probably around 5 years old into the maze, and the child was crying halfway through because he was scared.
It was a difficult situation to resolve as the parents were outside, therefore they don’t know what was happening. Therefore we immediately notified the scouter, who suggested that one of us needs to be in the maze and lead the child to one of the checkpoints, where we can take them out of the maze.
I eventually found the child and brought him out, but first I had to calm him down. Firstly I said, “It’s okay. Just follow me, and we can get back out, alright?” After seeing the child nod in the brim light, I lead him to the checkpoint. We got him out of the maze, and I handed the child to the Scouter, who took him to his parents. He was still scared when he was out of the maze, therefore I comforted him again and said, “It’s okay. Mommy and daddy are right outside. You will be okay!”
3. How did you discuss, evaluate and plan student-initiated activities?How did you get your service action started? How did you establish a communication group to plan your activity?How did you plan your service action? How do you know that it worked?
Recently, I planned a beach clean up activity with Adrian and Kenneth for the scout group. It was for an award in scouts, but we still put a lot of effort in and did our best to make the activity meaningful. We found it quite difficult at first because there are a lot of beaches in Hong Kong, and we were not sure which ones are suitable for a beach clean up. We researched online, looking into NGO websites that specialize in beach clean up such as Plastic Free Seas, but our group did come up with a conclusion that these beaches probably be taken care of by the NGOs and there are other beaches worth considering. Each of us visited some beaches, and we found the Sandy Bay beach with quite a lot of trash that should be cleaned up.
The most important part of this activity was serving the community by making Hong Kong a more environmental place, therefore at the end of the activity, we asked the Scouts to reflect on why we did this activity and how it contributes to making Hong Kong a better place.
4. How did you persevere in action?How do you manage to keep working on your service action when things became difficult? Who helped you? What did you do to make it work out?
One of the difficult moments that I came across was when volunteering in the Sai Wan War Cemetery. In one of the years I was near the stage, because I was also responsible for delivering a french speech. Standing near the stage as a scout, I was the person to hand reefs to the honorable veterans and figures to place on the graves.
But it wasn’t as simple as getting the reef and handing it to the people. Because I was a scout, I was in alert position and I had to tuck in my hands and turn on the balls of my foot while turning instead walking and turning. Even though it was December, it was a very sunny day, it was very hot, and I was standing and turning for the whole hour. Physically I started feeling tired and I wanted to run back into the shade and drink some water. All the other scouts were in the shade because they were in charge of laying the poppies, which was only part of the ceremony.
But I knew I could not do this, as I was representing the scout group and I have to behave like a scout. I constantly went back to this reminder, and put my focus away from myself to distract myself away from all the physical screams.
5. How did you work collaboratively with others?The nature of service means working with other people. How did you plan things and arrange things with others to achieve your service goal?What does evidence of this look like?
For most of my service activities we had to work as a group. In the crossroads trip in grade 8, I was put into a group was to fold donated clothes into boxes, which will be sent out into different places around the world where people need them.
There were around 5 people in our group, and somehow we were all boys, so none of us were really good at folding clothes. It was quite a problem in the beginning as no one wanted to be the ones folding the clothes. Luckily the staff there were experienced, and they very passionate and friendly in teaching us how to fold clothes nicely. After a while of discussion, we agreed that we would take turns for each role.
6. How did you develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding?Did you have communicate with speakers of other languages or from different cultures?How did you solve communication challenges?How did this change the way you think about the world?
In the visit to the Fresh Fish Traders’ School, we helped teach small children (around grade 1) how to read english, as that was a local school that had cantonese as a main language. The way we help them learn english was exposing them to english books, in a similar way to reading buddies. However, this was different from reading buddies as these children from the school barely know any english at all.
Through this activity, I then learnt how to communicate without a common language. When I was reading, I always referred back to the pictures and point to the objects that match with the word. It felt really satisfying when they learnt a new word. They would point back at it and repeat the word, which was how I interpreted as them recognising the meaning of the word. It was challenging but it felt really rewarding.
I realize that I was a very lucky child to be born in an environment with a richer background than other children, and that I was able to be exposed to both english and cantonese at a young age, therefore being quite fluent in both of these languages. This has definitely allowed me to reflect on how I was lucky to be exposed to already a lot of opportunities. For example, being in an international school gave me the opportunity to global engagement and being exposed to different parts of the world, not only through class but also CAS trips. However, these children probably have never been out of Hong Kong, and only have rich knowledge of their own community.
7. How did you consider the ethical implications of your actions?How did your service influence your target group for the better?Have you helped a group become independent of support or more reliant on outside help?Have you used a community to make yourself look good?
There is one service activity that I have really considered my ethical implications on, and that was the visit to Shum Shui Po, where we helped clean the windows of a home for the less privileged, but also prepare and serve food to the unprivileged people.
Wealth disparity is a growing issue globally, and even though the world is wealthier overall, the rich and poor gap instead has opened up even further. Through this service activity in Shum Shui Po, I have experienced the poor side, the other side of the rich city of Hong Kong. And even though the actions I have done through this service activity was only a small act in the global scale, it has made the locals in Shum Shui Po feel more privileged. Through this service opportunity the locals feel happier as they still know that there are people who care for them and are concerned about this issue. It would be less likely for them to give up on themselves and strive to support themselves and the community. This service activity has also made me feel better as I helped make the community a better place.