Community Engagement- Service
Over the past 4 years in High school, I was involved in many service groups. The services I was involved was Dragon council, Sustainability, HOPE, Chiku center, and HS Refugee, however, I am very proud of the effort I have shown in Dragon Council and The HOPE group.
11th grade was my first year that I was engaging a lot in the HOPE service group. HOPE is a service group that supports International Development Agency to underserved rural communities. As students, our role is to raise awareness about the needs of those in poverty, particularly in Cambodia. Students volunteer for inside and outside of school, such as, HOPE’s Tokyo-based events and or fundraise for HOPE projects and advocate for HOPE’s work on sustainable development on issues such as sanitation and education. Additionally, some students like myself, engaged in direct service on an annual trip to Pursat Province, Cambodia to engage in development work and build relationships with the local Cambodian community. However, to be considered for this trip people must also commit to being active members of the HOPE Service club.
I’ve never been so engaged in a service group. I love helping out inside and outside of school, however, I have never done things what I personally wanted to do to fundraise or help out the community. I do things what supervisors tell me to do or what groups tell me to do. But, HOPE was different. I was desperately motivated and I had a strong desire to go on the trip to Cambodia, I needed to fundraise 80000 yen individually. My first step was to do a bake sale during the AISA tournament. I sold 20 rainbow cupcakes and 1 cupcake cost 150 yen with frosting, which was a success. My next idea was to do a pitch at my dad’s business by giving a presentation about HOPE service group and the reasons why I would like to go on the trip.
My final idea was to sell tie-dye t-shirts during the YIS food fair. It is a school event where everyone is welcome. I thought this was a good idea because there will be a lot of parents and children who may like to donate or help me by buying my T-shirt. On that day, I earned 1000 yen. I’ve already reached my goals in order for myself to go on the trip, however, I helped donate the money by additionally, selling all my game players and the things I don’t need. As a group, we did a lot of bake sales during school time and also at winter concerts. Not only I was engaged in fundraising the money, but I also helped out events outside of school such as an event that was hosted in Odaiba.
From all the individual fundraising I did to go on the trip, I had a strong satisfaction by going on the trip. I had so much fun and learning experiences with Cambodian kids, different age groups. They’ve taught me their languages how to say ‘Hello’, ‘Thank you’ and I learned how to count from 1 to 10. We also taught them English and had a class every day to teach them math and vocabularies in English. Mostly, the trip was fun because we were able to help the children build a new school, built 3 wells for the poor family and just interacting with them, however, the trip made it even more successful to me by learning about their (Cambodia) History. Because I don’t take History, and I understand myself I don’t know about the world, this was a good opportunity for me to have a wide perspective. Also, we had the time to look around the temples.
I appreciate everyone: donator, parents, personal motivation, teachers, and friends who made the trip very memorable.
Another service I am most proud of is the Dragon Council (DC). This is my 5/6th year of joining Dragon council. Each year, the DC members are becoming a bigger community. DC group is the bridge to all the spirits happening in YIS. We take advantage of their spirit and use them to create a sports event, such as Volleyball world cup, basketball tournament after the season ends.
This year, we are planning to make a sports day and PEP RALLY in YIS. Not only sports event but we host AISA and WJAA tournament. We do scorekeeping, create t-shirts, we make athletes feel comfortable to be in Japan( students from OSAKA and KOREA) and so on. If we don’t have DC, we won’t be able to organize a sports event, host tournaments really smoothly and so on.
Last year, I was one of the senior council group, having a role of “treasure.” My role was to keep track of money(selling food/buying food), buying flowers for the seniors, buying Pizza’s, t-shirts, taxi’s and so on. As one of the members of the senior council, I was able to help out plan future events and organize sports award as well. But this year, I am representing DC as a vice president. My job as a vice president is to help my president out for schedule, organizing sports awards, contacting Mr.T, and keeping track of everything in general.
I wanted to bring an idea of pep rally because Pep rally has a role to make everyone bond and to share the fun times with others. Since YIS has a lot of spirits and talents where it should be shared, I thought pep rally would be the best place to share but school time cannot be used, a pep rally will be held during AISA or WJAA tournament.
Reflecting my High school experiences in YIS, I realized that I was engaged in different communities and allowed to help YIS a better community. Not only I was in a service group, but I also helped YIS a better community by performing dances in live aid, winter/spring concert. Overall, the Dragon Council and HOPE service group were the most productive and achievable experienced I had in my High school year.