Ms. Bonnie Calanchini (Lower School) writes:
The goal of this campaign was to not only raise awareness for the issue of inadequate housing through fundraising and active advocacy campaigning but to also provide the opportunity for Lower and Upper school students to make a difference and to give their time and efforts to support a great cause. Hosting this event will help us achieve our short-term and long-term goals which are to raise enough funds to help subsidize our build trips both for this year but also for future build trips. Having a Paint-Your-House will help to educate, engage and reinforce the students’ understanding of the significance of a home and what it means to them.
We were able to raise a large amount of money to subsidize a build trip for our future build trip participants. The lower school students we talked to during the event expressed their interest in our club and the issue for inadequate housing as well. This had left our event extremely successful while meeting all our goals.
Continuing this event annually has increased the effectiveness of its advocacy component, as students have the opportunity to participate multiple times. Images provided of our build trips, and the fact that our members, and visitors from HFH Hong Kong, including the CEO, engaged with the students directly, ensuring that they are educated about the goals of Habitat and what it advocates for.
As part of their annual Service Day, a group of Grade 7 students visited St. Mary’s Home for the Aged, our neighbourhood elderly home, to lead activities with residents and help with cleaning. Students started out by leading a lively game of Bingo and getting to know residents, before getting their hands dirty scrubbing windows, railings and chairs. We had a great time at St. Mary’s and hope to connect with them again soon!
What did the students say?
“The most rewarding part of visiting them was definitely seeing how joyful they were to have us there – seeing all their smiles made me smile!”
“I learnt that the elderly home does not have a lot of resources and many people wanted basic supplies such as toilet or tissue paper! This experience influenced me to think of how we take a lot of needs/necessities for granted. Overall, this was a rewarding experience and I would totally do it again!”
“I found it very surprising that we actually were able to communicate and got to know each other well. From this experience, my perception towards old people have completely changed.”
“They were all happy to see us and I think this is because lots of them don’t get a lot of young visitors. This was also great for me because none of my relatives live in or close to HK and it was nice to interact with some people my Grandma’s age.”
“All of the old people were helping each other and it was so lovely to see that age might change people on the outside but it does nothing to a person’s heart.”
“Although I knew Cantonese, it was challenging since it was my first time. But it was a very enjoyable day there. We played games with the elders and they all seem really happy getting the presents.”
“The most challenging thing was when my group had to clean chairs. It was very tiring but in the end, it was all worth it.”
“I had trouble communicating with the old, and I was surprised that not many of them understood Mandarin.”
“It was hot and tiring to clean outside but I still enjoyed it a lot. Overall, I think the elders need more company and love rather than physical things. I will be sure to visit again!”
“ I admit that it was pretty fun as I conversed with some of the elderly at my table and that it was good to have someone to talk with and could share their experiences with me that happened through their lives. I think that this day was worthwhile, rewarding and a great experience to our futures.”