An article written by Bonny and Emilia, Edited by Daniel (Year 12 students).
Something we found ourselves getting more and more involved in, ever since we joined BSB, is charity work. The school provides various opportunities to get involved in community service, whether it is by directly or indirectly helping others. After all, one of BSB’s primary values is a concern for others, and what better way to embody that than to give up one’s own valuable time?
Reasons for Getting Involved
There are many reasons to get involved in charity work. Anyone who is in a position to help others should do so. Life is full of the unexpected, and anyone could lose the privileges they have at any point in time. Currently, we are all in a fortunate position where we have not been affected by such tragedy. As such, one could view it as a moral duty to provide aid to those less fortunate to us.
Furthermore, the gratifying sense of satisfaction that will undoubtedly follow is unparalleled by any other. This satisfaction applies especially to direct community work, where one gets to observe the impacts of one’s actions first-hand.
For those of you who are interested in helping out the community (beyond BSB), here is a shortlist of the charity-related CCAs our school offers. We have also included our personal experiences in these charities, as well as comments from their coordinators.
Every Monday, students get to visit Asociatia Don Orione, which is a residential and daycare centre for children with disabilities. During each session, we usually accompany a child, whether it is pushing them around in their wheelchairs, playing card games with them or even bouncing along to the beat of the blasting music from the television. What I love most about this club, is that you get to know the children over time and form a bond with them.
‘Attending Don Orione is the highlight of my week. Spending time with the children who genuinely love seeing new people, and knowing how much enjoyment they get from a simple activity, like walking in the grounds, is the most worthwhile thing. The facility at Don Orione is good, and the staff are lovely, but they don’t have enough time to spend with each child every day having fun. Knowing that we can provide that time is a really good feeling. I know from personal experience how much a disabled child’s quality of life can be affected by just spending time with people, experiencing different sights, sounds and feelings, and getting out of their rooms. I’m very proud that we get to play a small part of that at Don Orione’, said Ms. Jo Mattingley-Nunn, Coordinator of Don Orione club.
Cooking for Charity
This past year, BSB started a new cooking CCA Called ‘Cooking for charity’. Personally, this CCA is the most exciting way to pass your time while doing good. At the beginning of each session, students receive the recipe that they will (hopefully) be following that day. Throughout the year, a variety of dishes covering a wide range of cuisines have been made, including chimichangas, spaghetti bolognese, hamburger casserole and fried rice. These sessions are where I learnt that lasagna sheets mustn’t be boiled, as any moisture in the sauce will cook them sufficiently. After the food is prepared, it is then packed up into aluminium containers, frozen, and sent off to the local charity Fundația Ușa Deschisă.
Despite everyone we manage to help and the many things we learn about cooking, the highlight of any given evening is when we get to divide any leftovers amongst ourselves.
‘Fundația Ușa Deschisă is a local organisation that gives full assistance and protected shelter in emergencies to victims of human trafficking. Ușa Deschisă has a refuge home, where the survivors live in, right after being rescued. Once it is deemed safe, the charity supports them so that they can move into other properties. The meals that we cook go directly to these survivors of human trafficking, and they greatly appreciate them!’, said Ms. Naomi Bousie, Coordinator of Cooking for Charity.
Fundatia Inocenti is an organisation that supports Romanian children and families in need; preventing child abandonment. They have offered specialised professional therapy and services to children and families in need since 1990, but are open to volunteers and students like us too! Unlike the other CCAs, this club is by invitation only, so do remember to speak to Ms Staunton at the start of each term if you are interested in joining her.
‘This CCA is special. Once a week, it allows us to move beyond the campus of BSB, to connect and spend time with young people who need a distraction from the reality of their hospital stay. You could be asked to cuddle a tiny baby, to encourage a toddler to take some wobbly steps or to create art and crafts with teenagers. You will be challenged to try to make an impression, to forge a bond with the young people you meet. Sometimes you will speak the same language, sometimes you won’t, but there is always a way to communicate. You will share the skills that you have, artistic talents, games, storytelling, or you can learn from the young people there, asking them about their interests and their skills. The following week, you will get to do it all over again! The hospital is a place of sanctuary and change. Positive change, from which patients leave when they get better. With this CCA you have the opportunity to bring some fun and frivolity to someone’s day’, said Ms. Aine Staunton, Coordinator of Fundatia Inocenti club.
BSB’s Make a Difference (MAD) is one of the most recently established clubs at this school, starting only last year. It has proven to be one of the most active and vibrant CCAs, where students come together to plan and promote charity events and activities within the school, including the numerous bake sales and yearly dance-offs. I find this time to be delightful, especially as those who sign up will usually join in groups, so they feel more comfortable sharing their ideas with other members in the club. The atmosphere here is, without a doubt, pleasant and welcoming. If you’re considering joining, we recommend signing up with a group of friends!
‘The students in BSB MAD bring their amazing ideas and organisation skills, but also learn the art of negotiation and events management, as we work through an event from initial ideas, to feasibility, to running it and then reviewing and evaluating the successes and ideas for improvement the following year. The other aspect of BSB MAD I wanted to see when I started the CCA was more awareness amongst the community about the charities we support. It is wonderful to see students presenting to their peers about the charities, in assemblies and during form periods. Some students join the club who are already confident public speakers, but for many others, BSB MAD gives them the opportunity to develop their own presentation skills!’, said Ms. Alice Allsop, Coordinator of BSB MAD.