Engaging in 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 seven years ago to raise money for a number of causes in Suzhou as well as outside China. Students initiate the projects and are helped and supported by teachers in planning events to raise money and create awareness within the community. Some of the projects the Kids 4 Kids group have organized are: A cup of Kindness, bake sales, clothing 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 service activities such as International Youth Rights, Paws4Cause and Project Earth: Million Tree Project. These activities are ongoing projects.
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 service projects, thus fostering students’ awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena. Students participate in many and varied activities including volunteering at orphanages 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. The Habitat for Humanity group at SSIS go to Yangshuo, in south western China, once a year to work on numerous and varied building projects. They could be putting the finishing touches to a family’s new home, starting to build a home from scratch, or doing any of the important jobs in the middle of construction.
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, which helps fund life-saving heart surgery for children whose families would have no hope of ever raising the money themselves. 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 Habitat for Humanity. 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 building a miniature house in honor of our charity Habitat for Humanity, doing traditional relaxation activities like embroidery and mahjong, eating famous Suzhou-nese dumplings, and doing a dramatic performance at the Bookworm....and everything in between!