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World Mag > WM Fall 2016 edition > Service Learning Programs at AISB

Service Learning Programs at AISB

Compiled by Catalina Gardescu Manager of Admissions & External Relations with Margritha Hofman, AISB Service Learning & IBDP CAS Coordinator and Janice Myles, AISB Service Learning Coordinator, PYP
Vampy AISB mascot
Vampy AISB mascot

The Service Learning programs and the school curriculum at the American International School of Bucharest complement
each other. They are further evidence of the school’s commitment to the ideal of service and to the deepening of our understanding of service through the process of learning.

November and December are months in which reaching out to others in need, sharing from our wealth of opportunities and showing that we care, are at their foremost.

“Students who have been taught to share with others and who have learned through these acts of Service will be “better” adults, will be supportive to those in need when they are adults, and will recognize that they are or might be in a unique position to help those who need help, short term and long term.” Margritha Hofman, AISB Service Learning & IBDP CAS Coordinator.

“Caring for others promotes resilience, determination, positive social behaviors and attitudes, motivation for learning, and increased engagement which are all catalysts for academic success. Fostering and developing a culture of caring and service not only bene ts students, but it also helps create a healthy school community and environment.” Janice Myles, AISB Service Learning Coordinator, Primary Years Program.

AISB students respond to the needs of the villagers of Berceni by stu ng a bus full of basic foods that help them get through the winter. This is now an institutionalized tradition that has taken place for the past 8 years. Every class carefully monitors and tracks the number of food items they collect, recording this information on a class thermometer.

Last year around 450 food bags were collected containing over 6,000 food items! Teachers turned the experience into an opportunity to study the math behind the numbers. One of the AISB grade 5 classes studied their purchase receipts and analyzed if they made good selections and choices for the value of their purchases. Students were asking questions like, “How many people can you feed with this pasta?” and “Is it better to buy peanut butter or a can of kidney beans?” (from the Service Learning blog at AISB)

In preparation for the Harvest Festival, AISB students scribble their blessings on paper leafs. These decorate a feast of all nations at the end of November – every nation represented in the AISB student body is present to o er students and school visitors a taste of their traditional food, giving thanks for all they have been blessed with. Last year marked a special event, maybe the start of a new tradition: a special Ciprian Porumbescu and George Enescu concert performed by members of the Remember Enescu Foundation. This concert was held in support of the PAVEL Organization, supporting children with cancer, leukemia, and grave anemia.

The Festival of Lights is an opportunity to help students learn about world religions. From the Christmas tree lights, to the Hanukkah ames; from the Guiding Star to the Diwali ames and the Light of Islam, the element of light brings together all of these wonderful and unique celebrations. Students have the chance to engage personally with di erent customs, absorb knowledge, and ask questions.

In December, members of the AISB community pick a tag from the Giving Tree and prepare a gift box that will be delivered to the children in need named on the tags. Last year 100 shoeboxes were lled and given to children from 3 di erent organizations: PAVEL Children’s Cancer Hospital, Touched Romania and Fundatia Sf. Dimitrie. 

None of the most recent events in the world have left the AISB community unmoved. From helping the Red Cross support the victims of the re in the Bucharest Colectiv Club, to running clothes and blanket drives to bene t the refugee camps in Romania, the AISB students stay alert and ready to reach out their hands and support others.

“I am proud of the students who plan their own activities and step out of their comfort zones to learn, share and care. [...] I am also proud of the fact that Alumni come back to school and tell me about how they are involved in service and community work at their universities. [...] these students have taken what they learned about service at AISB and used that to be involved in service projects as adults” Margritha Hofman, AISB Service Learning & IBDP CAS Coordinator

“Engaging and empowering students to realize they have ‘voice and choice’ to make a di erence in this world as positive social change agents is perhaps my greatest achievement.” Janice Myles, AISB Service Learning Coordinator, Primary Years Program.

Read the entire WORLD Magazine Fall 2016 edition here.


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