Van der Poel Christmas Party 2017 (Community engagement)

On December 2nd, 2017, I have participated in the Van der Poel Christmas party as a part of my service activity. I have been joining Van der Poel since I was in 9th grade and it was my 2nd year for me to take part in the event.

The Van der Poel is a community service team that works towards the welfare of children in two local orphanages. Throughout the year, the Van der Poel members are involved in a number of activities and that benefit the children. This is not only the Christmas party (major event held at YIS) that I have participated but there are some other activities such as going to strawberry picking, Ice skating and going to visit their homes. The team also organize an event such as preparing for and running a booth at a Bazaar held twice a year at one of the homes.

To organize and to be successful at heading the Christmas party event, we had to work hard on collecting funds. There were several ways we collected it. First, the team had collected found by going around the classroom and asking if the students can found any money for the events. We always visited each classroom for two weeks and at the end of the week, we were able to collect 319,476 yen in total. Before we had started the party we also worked hard on decorating the place, wrapping the present, and also went to shopping for filling in the stocking with snacks and sweets for every two homes for the children to enjoy. To do this, we were separated into groups (People who are going to wrap the present and people who are going to go shopping). I was in a group where I went to shopping for getting the snacks for filling in the stocking which I also did this for preparing the last year’s Christmas party. After we were done decorating the room (cafeteria), we were ready to hold the party.

I personally felt the most challenging part of this event was to talk to little children who came to the party. This was because I do not usually talk to a little kid and also I am the youngest in my family member. Furthermore, since I was talking to people who are not living in the same environment as me, I was very anxious if I say something that made them feel sad. Although, I think by going to this event, it had to lead me to grow to be more confident in especially my communication skills. This is because I was able to speak to people I have never talked to before and was able to know and realize that although there are children who are not living in the same environment as my self, they are not very different.

Being part of Van der Poel had made me look at the world in a different way. By taking action on participating in events and activities, it had made me think how those activities can really lead to help people who are in needs of those supports. Over these two years, it had taught me how it can lead to supporting people but also made me personally feel how it can be very enjoyable with joining a service activity. Also, since I already had interested in joining Van der Poel, I was able to enjoy contributing to this service group and had led me to change in different areas of skill that are required academically. I am planning to join Van der Poel next year as well.

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