Community service is an important element of the SSIS experience for students, staff and parents alike.
During the year students have multiple opportunities to connect with their community either due to the curriculum requirements or simply because they want to do good for the community they live in.
The Kids 4 Kids student action group has achieved amazing results in the local community in Suzhou. The group was started by Elementary students and teachers over five years ago to raise money for a number of causes in and around Suzhou. Many of these projects have been initiated by students and they have been helped and supported by teachers in planning events to raise money. Some of the events the Kids 4 Kids group have organized have been bake sales, ice block sales, book drives, and a read-a-thon.
As part of the curriculum Secondary students are required to take an active part in the communities in which they live, thereby encouraging responsible citizenship. In Grades 6 – 10 students participate in different community service activities in homeroom groups facilitated by the homeroom teacher. These activities could be a one-off event, e.g. a performance, or an ongoing project, e.g. buddy reading.
In Grades 11 and 12 students must satisfy all Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) requirements to pass their Diploma.
Participation in the school’s CAS programme encourages students to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports and community service work, thus fostering students’ awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena. Students participate in many and varied activities including volunteering at an orphanage in Suzhou, working with children as part of the Vasfontein Community Transformation project in South Africa, and coordinating the in-school recycling programme.
Habitat for Humanity, for example, is a great opportunity for students to experience real service through the CAS programme. Habitat for Humanity aims to transform homes, lives and whole communities through the creation of healthy living environments. Since May 2008, China’s Sichuan province has been rebuilding itself after a devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake. Recently, a group of students completed their first ever New Hope Build. The students worked with a local family to save 9058 bricks so they were able to build a new family home.
Staff and Parents
The staff and parents at SSIS are also committed to this philosophy of community service. Many events are held during the school year to raise funds for charity; International Family Day, the SSIS Suzhou Ninja Obstacle Course and Biathlon, and the Suzhou Amazing Race are the three largest and most well-known.
The annual SSIS Suzhou Ninja Obstacle Course and Biathlon raises money for Heart for Heart Shanghai. The event is open to the Suzhou community and in 2016 almost 100 adults and children took part in a morning of family fun and fitness, raising over 21,000 RMB.
Proceeds from the Suzhou Amazing Race are donated to local charities. The Suzhou Amazing Race is similar to the television programme with teams of 3-4 people racing around Suzhou completing a series of challenges. In the past, these tasks have ranged from creating a watercolour painting of PanMen Gate to eating a silk worm, from climbing a wall to cutting grass with scissors...and everything in between!