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A musical treat for the elderly at St. Mary’s by LS Strings Ensemble

By | PYP | No Comments

Amelia from the LS Strings Ensemble shares their experience performing for the elderly at the St. Mary’s elderly home:

“On November 15, the LS Strings Ensemble lugged our instruments down the hill Of Nam Long Shan Road meet a room full of elderly people at St Mary’s Home For The Aged. At first we were nervous and apprehensive. We thought it seemed large and the chairs were actually a great deal fancier and impressed us. It was very quiet, as the residents didn’t seem to talk very loudly.


Our group set up and began tuning, curious as the residents of St. Mary’s Home For The Aged filed in. They looked excited and cheerful, like they were ready for our performance. A few were being wheeled in with a domestic helper or nurse, and a few others were using walkers to stroll in. Most were quiet, but a few were more lively. Some were chattering and observing us with interested expressions.

We played a selection of pieces including ‘O Canada’, ‘Gargoyles’, ‘American Fiddle Medley’, ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’, three solos, and ended with a piece called ‘Guest Soloist’. In this piece, the elderly volunteers shook tambourines on time of the beat, which was fun to both watch and participate in. One of our members, Darren Y. is fluent in Cantonese, and hosted our concert along with Ms Benusa, our strings teacher who conducted.

Following the concert, members of the ensemble distributed 80 goodie bags which we had prepared, filled with soap, crackers, toilet paper, and tissues among everyone. Every time we distributed a bag, we would thank them for letting us perform for them. They looked thankful and cheerful, and those who could speak English held a little small talk thanking us. On the outside was a handwritten note in traditional Chinese with an illustration.

The purpose of this trip was really to bring something both to calm and comfort these people who had maybe not as much company. I think we would definitely go again, because we learned there that even without spending so much money, we can give a present to those who need it. Even the younger students in our group didn’t find it boring, they still thought it was interesting and liked the visit.

All of the residents seemed very happy and excited, and we really hope that we helped them enjoy their time and brought a little bit of slight into their lives.”

Tippy-Taps and container gardens – a Lower School family support Filipino communities

By | Social Justice | No Comments

Read about a family with boys in Gr. 3 and Gr. 1 that helped communities in the Philippines become stronger:

Josh and Adam really valued their trip to the Philippines.  They visited ultra-poor communities in Bacolod with International Care Ministries.  We visited two different types of slum communities.  One closer to the city, an urban slum, and the other farther out in a rural area.  We met and spent time with families that survive on less than HK$4 a day and they were so welcoming.  We delivered Manna Packs, or nutritious food to the communities.  Malnourished children is a serious problem in these communities and many children do not grow properly due to insufficient nutrition.  In addition, the communities lacked infrastructure that many of us simply take for granted – electricity, clean water, and plumbing.  

The boys made container gardens using empty plastic soda bottles.  These gardens were transported to the communities so that members could learn to grow their own food.  The boys also enjoyed building tippy-taps, a basic hand-washing station.  These stations help promote proper hand washing in households that don’t have running water. The boys observed that the ultra-poor do not have a lot of possessions, but they value what they have and are willing to share.  Together with members of the community, we build a toilet – some families do not even have this basic facility.   ICM is doing amazing work in the Philippines and transforming lives through teaching and training families how to support themselves and providing them with the necessary tools to survive beyond poverty.  The trip with ICM was a rewarding experience and it was a true privilege to work with the charity to help those in need.  

Hearts guiding hands: Gavel x GIN winners share their experiences

By | GIN & Clubs, Social Justice | No Comments

Jesse (GIN club: RESPECT):

The plight of refugees and education for all are the two issues that matter to me most. Reading the news about the migrant crisis in Europe a few years ago made me sympathise with the hostile way Syrian refugees were being received in their host countries, and the limited opportunities that they were being given with respect to work and education. I wanted to do something to help so I decided to start locally with the refugee community in Hong Kong, and since tutoring has always been an interest, I applied to become a leader of RESPECT (Refugee Educational Support Program – Everyone Can Teach!). Three years of working with refugee children every week at the Refugee Union centre in Sai Ying Pun have since flown by! 
I spoke about my involvement in RESPECT at the Gavel x GIN competition because I wanted to share my experience of working with the children with the school community. My speech focused on my relationship with a young girl that I had the pleasure of knowing from the very start of my work with RESPECT, and the way she endeared herself to me as we got to knew each other. Distilling this 3-year experience into a 3-minute speech was difficult but I just about managed!
At RESPECT we’re always trying to improve our sessions and help out the families in any way we can. Upcoming initiatives include being in contact with suppliers to supply feminine sanitary materials to the mothers in our network and incorporating a digital curriculum using iPads into our lessons. I’ve learned in these three years that taking action is all about initiative – coming up with ideas and then putting them into action without being forced by others. 
Mana (GIN Club: The Reading Tree)
I have always been passionate about education at the enabling power it had on youth to change their circumstances by building their skills and capabilities. Growing up in Hong Kong, in a very secluded area of Central, I had never been exposed to other children who didn’t have the same privileges I had, I thought it was the norm. At a more mature age, going to Indian orphanages and Hong Kong educational centres, I was exposed to a very different reality. These were children who had the capabilities to succeed but not the opportunity. This is what made me passionate about making changes to access to education and the right to opportunities that allows children to explore and succeed.
In realising that education was very significant to me, I sought to find GIN clubs that had similar aims and passions. I came across The Reading Tree, and was instantly active in trying to make differences in the local community by participating in local Buddy Reading Programs. From just being involved in the school club, I decided to expand my impact by joining the Kids4Kids Advocates Leadership Team, which let me participate in even greater depth.
I was actually never supposed to deliver the GavelxGIN speech! I was the writer, but someone else was supposed to deliver the actual speech. I think it was quite funny that I ended up delivering it, but I think it made it more authentic because it was written by me. I approached the speech by making sure I made it clear why TRT is an important GIN club in the context of our school and local community, but also what it meant to me individually. I tried to improvise a bit and make the speech more interactive by pointing out individuals in the crowd who could relate to TRT and went on our CAS trip. I think this is what made my speech successful, as I had tried to personalise it and get the audience involved.
The year has ended for our club in terms of events, but we have so much to plan and prepare for next year. Our next campaign will be looking at how to interlink advocacy and fundraising more cohesively. We have a lot of great fundraisers that make us a lot of money to help sustain our programs, but we would still like to make it clear why we fundraise and the importance of our actions. 
I have learned that in taking action, the most useful tip is to initiate. Whether you know if it will turn out or not, just start planning and change things as you go along. I learned early on, that if you don’t get the process moving, it most likely will remain stagnant, and you would have accomplished nothing towards your goal. Just initiate and learn as you go!

WWF highlights Audrey for Pink Dolphin support!

By | Animal Welfare, MYP, Personal Projects | No Comments

Audrey was recently highlighted in the WWF magazine published in Hong Kong as their ‘Supporter in Focus’ given her efforts to raise awareness and the scientific information about the Chinese White Dolphin, affectionately known as the Pink Dolphin.  She organized a fundraiser around a musical performance and a photography exhibition of animals while on holiday in California.  Her efforts include a a funding page that has already raised over HK$400,000 to pay for additional hydrophones to conduct research about dolphin presence and movement!

She shares:

“I felt driven to base my project off helping the Chinese White Dolphins because I really wanted to make an impact for my chosen animal, and the types of animals I would most likely have the most impact on would be a local species. After doing research, I was really exposed to the rapidly deteriorating wellbeing of these dolphins, and they were definitely one of the most threatened species in Hong Kong waters. Seeing as they were relatively “local animals” and they were in extreme need of help, I decided to base my project off of helping them and sincerely hope my donations would make a difference for them!”
For more about Audrey’s work with WWF, read the SCMP article, the WWF article (p.11) and check out a WWF video.  You can continue to support her funding page on WWF by clicking here.

Gr. 5 student action: Bracelets, gender discrimination & the Women’s Foundation

By | ., PYP | No Comments

Here is the story of Teri, a student from Gr. 5, talking about her recent multi-activity simulation & fundraising action in support of The Women’s Foundation:

I was interested in Women’s Rights growing up and I knew that The Women’s Foundation helped Women in Hong Kong who are being denied rights and also building confidence in to-be adults. I was interested in their events and wanted to help spread the message about Women in Hong Kong.

I decided to have a simulation in a bracelet factory where there are different roles for assigned genders, but men have more dominating roles, whereas Women have more harder jobs like making the bracelets. All the bracelets made in the simulation were sold in the recent fundraiser.

In the process, I learned a lot about leadership, time management and planning as these types of projects require a lot of these skills. All in all, I had a really good time doing this and I was happy to help support The Women’s Foundation.

CDNIS families supporting HK’s homeless with ImpactHK

By | PYP, Social Justice | No Comments

A group of students and parents walked with Impact HK on Sunday evening.

The group met at the Guestroom near Sham Shui Po, and loaded up with bedding, oranges and bottles of water which were labelled to let the homeless know where the Guestroom was located. The Guestroom is a place where the homeless can come and access a fridge with free food and water and get counselling, nutrition, soap for showers, bedding, play sports, etc.

The group was split into three groups, according to what they would carry and distribute (oranges, bedding and water). Jeff from ImpactHK took everyone on a walk of the poorest sections of Sham Shui Po and helped the group identify those in need and distribute these items to the homeless. Jeff was well known and it was evident the friendships and trust he has established with the homeless.

The Guest room is run by volunteers plus 9 “community helpers”, who were once homeless but are now off the streets thanks to Jeff and ImpactHK and living in permanent housing. They work three 4 hour shifts a week. This is part of their rehabilitation back into society so that they can work towards a full time job. It was explained that a homeless person shall need a transitionary period to re-join society.

To learn more about this charity, please take a look at their website:

Everyone in the group was deeply touched by what they saw and how they helped.

“Impact HK started with the aim of doing once kind act per month for the homeless in Hong Kong”. CISPA Outreach hopes to make this a monthly visit for students/parents/faculty to walk with Impact HK. If you would like to join us for our next walks (hopefully in April and May, dates to be confirmed) please let CISPA Outreach know.

E-club’s Shek O beach cleanup and zero-waste veggie potluck lunch!

By | GIN & Clubs, Green, Staff | No Comments

Sunshine, a sea breeze and the smell of rotting meat with maggots?! What a way to start our Sunday!  Members of the e-club, friends and family joined on Sunday, the 25th of March to spend their morning cleaning a section of Shek O’s rocky shore near the Instagram-happy “Lover’s Bridge”.  Fifteen big bags and buckets of styrofoam, juice boxes, bottles, plastic rope & shreds, bags of rotting meat, shoes and straws were amongst the common types of trash we collected.  This was also no ordinary beach clean-up as we collected single-use plastic for a Lower School art installation being developed by Orca house members of Gr.s 4-6 involved in the recent Leadership Education & Action Planning workshop (LEAP) for the upcoming GreenWeek, and we finished with a no-waste (bring your own utensils) vegetarian potluck lunch, complete with a green E-Club cake, on the beach!  We had a meaningful day out in Shek O this past weekend, and we hope to have more people join us for our next environmental event – the City Nature Challenge on the 28th of April!  Thank you to the Sternby parents for also joining Ms. Safaya as the adults on this excursion, and the E-club execs for organizing this event: Yvette, Aisha, Jameson, Lolo and Kyra!  Enjoy browsing through the photos taken by Jameson, ace photographer and environmentalist!

The Power of Words – public speaking meets global issues!

By | GIN & Clubs, Social Justice | No Comments

A huge success to the public speakers of our community! On January 10th and 11th of 2018, the Young Masters Gavel Club and the GIN Clubs came together for the second annual Gavel x GIN Speech Competition, yielding great results. This year, we saw participation from all 10 GIN clubs as compared to the 5 clubs that participated in the last competition, providing equal representation for all clubs. The audience this year had also vastly increased, demonstrating that our initiatives have reached the minds of many in our community. Not only this, the prize pool had increased from the $1,500 of last year, to $3,000, all with the help of CISPA. With this increase, the Young Masters Gavel Club was able to award the top three participants, giving a little bit of help towards each cause.

In this speech competition, each GIN club nominated one member to represent their cause. They then worked together with members of the Young Masters Gavel Club where nominated GIN members would either prepare their own speech and acquire feedback from Gavel members, or have a Gavel member speak on behalf of the GIN club, gaining knowledge on their cause. Speakers from both GIN clubs, and the Gavel club, prepared their speeches and delivered it to audience and judges, revealing many of our community’s passionate speakers. This was a great opportunity for our community as speakers were able to spread knowledge of many important issues, share their own experiences of these issues, and promote the art of public speaking.

After some rigorous thought by our judges, the winners of the competition were decided, with first place going to Mana Mehta of the Reading tree, second place going to Pak San Fung of the Environment Club, and third place going to Jesse Wang of the Respect club. Congratulations to all of our contestants, and look forward to the competition next year!


Amnesty International @ CDNIS

By | GIN & Clubs | No Comments

“The Vow of Silence was a simple yet effective activity that met the goals of the event: to advocate for those whose voices are heard or are unable to voice their opinions. By simulating this experience for the day, this event developed a greater awareness and understanding of our world at the local and global level.” – Kristy

Listen in to what the CDNIS Amnesty International Club does to raise awareness about human rights by watching their video!

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