On Saturday, April 21st, around 360 Wellspring students, parents, teachers, staff members and other community members were involved in a national and international community service event called Global Youth Service Day (GYSD). GYSD is an annual global event that highlights and celebrates the contribution of millions of youth to their communities through volunteer service. Wellspring decided to be part of the larger community and take action in order to help their local community in Beirut and show our country Lebanon and the World that WE CARE. Wellspring's GYSD event this year has been chosen, planned and implemented by our students and supervised by Wellspring's Community Service Committee (CSC)! While working collaboratively, they decided to have 8 different activities that aim to help the environment, animals, other community members, and our neighborhood, and later students chose which activity they would like to serve in.
Each activity made a positive difference in our community and in the volunteers. The following are some of the results of Wellspring's GYSD project "Wellspring CARES":
- Peace and Justice Awareness Campaign: Middle school students made an awareness flyer about peace and justice for all children around the world, made hard copies and distributed them to the public in Abraj Center and ABC Ashrafiyye. They raised awareness and tried to defend a child whom they found working in the kitchen of a restaurant. The file attached is a soft copy of the awareness flyer.
- Planting the National Museum's Mathaf Garden and Wellspring's Learning Garden: This group of students were divided into 2 groups. One group went to Wellspring's Learning Garden to plant vegetables and herb plants. Greenline was there in order to teach the kids how to plant and how to take care of the plants. In the Mathaf Garden, the other group of students were taking out the weeds and trash and learning to plant Olive trees, grass and flower beds. They were able to make this public garden more beautiful for the neighborhood. When the locals saw our students working, they were motivated to help out and get more plants for the garden. In addition, the head of the National Museum went out of his office and saw the students working, so he finally agreed to allow Wellspring to take care of the Mosaics lying on the ground of the Mathaf Garden!
- Random Acts of Kindness: This group of students went outside of Wellspring in small groups in order to spread smiles, hugs, home-made cookies, handmade flowers and cards to everyone on the street. As they were doing so, they collected data about the amount of smiles, laughs, and kind words they received from the people. At the end, they went to the sidewalk and post up posters to tell all drivers to slow down and to put on their seat belts. They got a lot of people to honk the horns of their cars to approve the students' work!
- Clean up the Syriac Church: This group of students gave the church's janitor a day off and cleaned all of the church (2 floors high). They vacuumed the carpets, took out the withering flowers, wiped the benches, cleaned the windows and washed the floor. They never knew that cleaning is so tiring and they wondered how could one person do all this work alone!
- Help at the Vet Hospital: This group of students went to the Vet Hospital next to Wellspring. They learned from the veterinarian how to take care of the animals by washing them and giving them their medication. The students then cleaned all of the hospital's shelves, windows, and cages.
- Beach Sweep: This group of students went to the Ramlet El Bayda beach and boardwalk to clean them up. They categorized the trash into several categories such as metal, wood, paper, plastic and glass and collected data about it. Then they hung the bilingual banner (which they made at school) on the boardwalk railing to encourage everyone to keep the beach clean. They brought the categorized trash back to school where they recycled the trash in their proper bins.
- Visit Dar Al Aytam El Islamiyya orphanage: This group of students went to the orphanage in order to do fun activities with the orphans and get to know them better. They taught each other the activities that they like such as arts and crafts, cooking, sports, reading stories, acting, poetry and others… All of the kids had fun and enjoyed their interaction and felt that they have made a best new friend!
8. Syrian Refugee Relief: Over 2 months, everyone was donating food items and supply to support the relief. We received a lot of contributions that helped this group of students prepare more than 100 relief packages. They also made caring cards to go with the packages such as: We are here to help, We care about you, All what you need is here. When they were done, Irshad and Islah organization sent a truck to our school in order to collect the packages and send them to the needy Syrian Refugee Families around Lebanon.
When the volunteers accomplished their community service activities, they came back to Wellspring's campus to reflect on the action that they have taken. Following the reflection, there was a collective sharing of the learning experiences on Wellspring's Spiral so that everyone gets to know what sort of action the others have taken. Afterwards, all volunteers were invited to a Pot Luck Lunch prepared by the Wellspring Parent Advisory Committee (WPAC) and were treated to delicious ice cream generously contributed by Gelati Cortina. Community service couldn't have been any better!
PS: Lebanon ranks 6th place in the world for having the highest number of GYSD projects! Still, we wonder what sort of future actions will we take in order to serve our community even more?
On the behalf of Wellspring's Community Service Committee, we want to thank everyone for caring, serving and taking action!