IA Students Serve Our Community
On Monday, September 11, 2023, students in grades 9 and 10 at the International Academy took part in a variety of service activities as a way to remember, honor, and give back to the community. Service as Action is one of the tenets of the International Baccalaureate framework, and Lisa Belotti, IA’s Service Learning/Enrichment Coordinator, used this National Day of Service as an opportunity to give these young adults a chance to accomplish their first of four service requirements of the year.
Over 350 students gathered in the cafetorium, and were then separated by homeroom, and assigned their task. Belotti organized activities to benefit several community partners: making fleece blankets for the Children’s Center to give away at their annual holiday event, stuffing goodie bags for the Children’s Center’s annual Trunk-or-Treat event, making “plarn” balls (strings of plastic from grocery bags to create yarn-like materials, which are then crocheted into sleeping mats for the homeless) for Grace Center of Hope, writing greeting cards and coloring pictures for the patients at Sunrise Memory Care, and the creation of fleece dog toys for the Michigan Animal Rescue League.
Milan Thai-Tang, grade 9, who made a fleece blanket, is no stranger to community service. Thai-Tang has volunteered at Gleaners Food Bank and was a Counselor-in-Training last summer for the toddler group at Roeper School. Ava Varghese, grade 9, who was also working on the fleece blankets, said, “This is really fun to do together as a group. I don’t think I’m very good at it, but it doesn’t matter if it looks good, it matters if it keeps the person warm!”
The activities and donations were made possible by families, as well as grants from AmeriCorps the Agency and the Michigan Community Service Commission. To complete the activity, each student wrote a reflection based on their experience that day, and Belotti concluded that even these little tasks would make a big difference to many people. Later this week, students in grade 11 will deliver the donations to Grace Centers of Hope and The Children’s Center to kick off their Diploma Programme requirement of CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service).