Monday, November 30, 2015

Community Engagement: In Elena's Words

The following is a post written by Elena Ortiz ('17) who worked tirelessly as a member of the organizing committee for the 24 Hour Run (to Stop the Traffic) aimed at addressing the issue of modern day slavery. Away from the eyes of most of us, she worked day after day for six months in a true collaborative project spanning a number of schools and the entire region. Her story is shared here as an example of our students' engagement with the community and a living example of ISKL's school-wide learning results. If you have a moment ask her about it and see her eyes shine with pride as she talks about it. 

Here is Elena's story, shared with her permission:

"This year I had the wonderful opportunity of being Kuala Lumpur’s Executive Director of Advocacy and Impact of the 24 Hour Race. This was both the most challenging, and eye-opening experience that I have ever undertaken. When I started my responsibilities back in May, I knew that it would be a challenge, but I had absolutely no idea just how far in over my head I was. But I was full of passion, energy, and ready to learn. Our only adult ‘supervision’ was in Hong Kong, meaning that it was up to the five of us directors to put on an entire event start to finish. And that meant everything from writing business proposals, to selecting and maintaining a partnership with beneficiaries and even trying to coordinate permits with the Malaysian government. I essentially devoted most of my life to trying to keep up with its mountain of demands, and cannot count the times where my teachers have caught me formatting the financial spreadsheet instead of doing math problems or finishing my essay. 

The factor that drove me most was knowing the impact that I was having. Human slavery is one of the biggest problems in the world, claiming the lives of 35 million people and plaguing every single country. The industry is a 150 billion dollar problem that nobody is talking about. Knowing in the back of my head that my efforts were helping to save lives and shut down some of the biggest injustices the world drove me to put every single challenge and task at the top of my priority list to complete. I am so proud of what my team and I were able to accomplish, and I’m so excited to see how the movement grows in the future."

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