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.”
On Friday, 18th November, all the Grade 7 students embarked on 6 different experiences around Hong Kong that connected to a local or global issue for their annual Service Day. Going to places as far off as Mui Wo, Sai Kung, Shek O to name a few, the students and teachers helped the various communities on projects that address environmental and social justice issues. The options included:
- learning about and practicing permaculture methods on a Sai Kung educational farm
- running a canned-food drive & learning about local food waste issues at Feeding Hong Kong
- conducting native tree maintenance at a reforestation site on the hillsides of Mui Wo
- doing a beach clean-up and art installation at a Shek O rocky shore
- carrying out community mapping surveys in Aberdeen and presenting solutions to Southern District Council members, Ms. Yam & Mr. Zimmerman
- getting hands-on and building up a young organic farm in Peng Chau
A group of Grade 7 Students learned that ‘service’ can also include caring for our more-than-human world on our recent Grade 7 Service Learning Day on November 20th. Students visited forested areas near Mui Wo to help care for small trees that are part of reforestation projects on Lantau Island. Students made mesh wire supports for the trees, watered thirsty seedlings and learned about the ecological impacts of urbanization and forest fires.
Across the Lower School, Orca House hosted a non-perishable food item drive to collect items to donate to Feeding Hong Kong, an organization that works to eliminate hunger and food distribution inequality locally in Hong Kong. To continue this experience, Grade 7 students led this drive, packed the items and brought them to the Feeding Hong Kong warehouse to pack up Holiday Hampers for Hong Kong citizens in need this December. Additionally, grade 7 students made holiday cards to accompany the food items and share a little cheer!
“I worked collaboratively with others because in the morning we ran up and down stairs carrying boxes full of food donations and we sorted them out in food groups….I learned that more people than we think don’t have enough food to eat in Hong Kong every day.”
– Zoe Boh,
Feeding Hong Kong
Another option as part of the Grade 7 Service Learning Day was to participate in a boat expedition and beach cleanup with Plastic Free Seas aboard their new Sea Classroom! Students had the opportunity to view ocean organisms, clear remote beaches in Hong Kong of trash and to learn about the harmful impacts of disposable plastics.
“I learned that there are so many things living in the water, that [are] barely visible to the human eye. I also learned that we should all try and cut the consumption of plastic. If we all stopped buying non-essential plastics and styrofoam, our oceans would be so much cleaner.”
– Julian Hill,
Plastic Free Seas
As part of Grade 7 Service Learning Day on Friday, November 20th, a group of CDNIS students volunteered at a family organic farm on Cheung Chau island. Students learned how to make a herb spiral based on principles of permaculture and helped the Lam Family create trellises to care for their vegetables.
As part of Grade 7 Service Learning Day on Friday, November 20th, a group of CDNIS students volunteered with the NGO SoapCycling to improve sanitation and hygiene in underprivileged regions, one child at a time. SoapCycling collects and sanitizes slightly used hotel soaps and these life-saving items are then distributed to underprivileged families and schools in disadvantaged communities around the world, particularly Asia.