27 Jul Broadening Students’ Horizon through Social Outreach Programs
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”- Albert Schweitzer
This is an era where several environmental, social and economic issues have grown and are threatening to cause untold problems to all. In a time like this, the idea of social outreach programmes have taken schools by storm. Students across the globe have felt the need to work collectively to spread awareness about these issues and have taken matters into their own hands to effectively convey the messages and create awareness. And while these outreach programmes promote awareness and addresses issues, they also benefit the children participating by encouraging the development of several skills.
Outreach programmes provide a valuable experience that children gain at a young age. Experience allows children to work on their mistakes and become more and more efficient with every programme they complete. It teaches children tolerance and enables them to handle all types of people.
At Sharanya Narayani International (SNIS), a top residential IB/IGCSE school in Bangalore, several kids from grade 6 to 12 take part in fundraisers which provided children an opportunity to interact with both other kids and adults and pitch forth the importance of the fundraisers for relevant causes and encourage small and meaningful donations.
As humans, we tend to appreciate things we find appeasing and subtle. Using this common knowledge, students harness their creativity and make engaging and enjoyable content which grabs the audience’s attention and encourages sharing and spreading of the message. A good example of this was the grade 11 students presenting the Fairtrade initiative in school and on social media. They created interactive assemblies and fun presentations and images that appealed to all ages.
A good pitch is of no use if the message cannot be conveyed effectively. Realising this, students consistently work on developing their communication skills to become confident speakers so that they can successfully put forth the issues and messages, strengthening the effect of the pitch and encouraging the audience to further spread the message. Last year, as students prepared for their first ever SNIS MUN (Model United Nations), the students sent out several emails, made numerous phone calls and put forth the idea of a MUN whose proceeds went to an NGO. They combined their creative pitch with an effective delivery and managed to attract over 120 delegates.
A good team is always complemented with great leaders. Social outreach programmes bring the best out of the children and allows natural leaders to exhibit their quality. People who get the privilege to take on leadership roles at a young age get to fine-tune their people-management skills, motivational skills, confidence and learn important lessons such as the importance of delegation of work, time management and so on. They become better human beings and learn to work with all types of people more efficiently. SNIS’s Grade 12 got to experience leadership as they spearheaded the visits to the Sparsha orphanage. They took charge of all the lessons taken there and organised fun activities while micromanaging each aspect of the endeavour.
Emotional Intelligence refers to an individual’s ability to understand, interpret one’s own emotions and as well as others’ and respond appropriately to them. Educationist’s around the globe endeavour to create well-rounded, accomplished individuals. It is the ability to identify, use, understand and manage emotions in an effective and healthy way. This ability helps students empathise with others and self and deal with difficult situations without getting mentally stressed. It affects relationships, academic performance and even the way children handle pressure.
While doing social outreach programmes such as the Ketto fundraiser, the Fairtrade awareness, the MUN fundraiser and the Sparsha orphanage visit, children gained another special skill, introspection and reflection, vis-à-vis developing emotional intelligence. Children learned to look into their self and understand the privileges they have. They learned how to appreciate what they have and learned to be empathetic. They understood the importance of the causes they were raising awareness about, which encouraged them to do something about these issues. They gained a sense of social responsibility and gained the self-confidence to take on that responsibility.
Acquiring these skills and understanding through social outreach programmes, children expand their horizons as they become well-rounded individuals with the capability not only to be understanding, open-minded and empathetic towards these issues and people, but also have the skills and sense of responsibility to take action to tackle these issues. These programmes encourage the development of global citizens who value-add to the society, making the world a better place to live.
I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy – Rabindranath Tagore
Let’s get inspired …!
Author – Arnav Girish Timmapur, Grade 11
Reviewer – Ms. Shenoba, PYP Grade Level Lead