Last Friday (Sept. 27th) around 100 students and a smattering of parents and staff congregated in the gym for a new experience: A food packaging event. It was a first of sorts for ISKL. It was the first time we all worked with this kind of program. It was the first time we all had to wear clinical hats and gloves and involved ourselves in such an industrial process (quite the assembly line, really) of packing and more packing.
By the end of a two hour session we had packaged 20,000 meals with the support of an organization named Stop Hunger Now. Our HS GAP teams - all represented at the event - will be involved a bit further in identifying two things: If food aid is a good idea in the areas/communities they are visiting and, if so, which organizations they might be able to assist directly with such aid. We are hoping that, in this way, we can involve them in the discussion, research and decision making regarding food support and development in areas that we visit. This deliberation, in and of itself, is a powerful opportunity to learn the benefits and drawbacks of food assistance.
For those GAP groups that determine that this food will not be beneficial we will be working with local organizations in the area who are happy to receive such assistance.
In addition to assisting communities locally and internationally, our hope is that this will be a small step toward giving our students opportunities to engage in service related initiatives. ISKL already boasts a wide array of service initiatives, from our HS community service to our ES Red Hats program. But in attempting to find ways to allow service to define who we are we need to recognize the power of all service, particularly if it is coordinated by students (as was the case with this event, whose executive committee comprised of 10 juniors). We are hopeful that, as we move forward through this year and those to come, we can steadily build our service ethos and allow service into our mindset and behaviors.
ISKL's vision states "to walk in a harmonious environment where care follows closely behind; learning is stimulated, curiosity is sparked, vision is cultivated and action is inspired." To this end such authentic experiences through service can contribute a good deal to the molding of a better future.