Over at YCIS Shanghai Puxi Gubei Campus, they have been busy giving back, exploring their artistic sides and brightening up the lives of those in need.
It is all part of a collaboration between the YCIS Shanghai Charity Foundation and the Shanghai Children’s Hospital of Fudan University for Xiao Bu Jia Yuan. Founded in 2020, Xiao Bu Jia Yuan provides accommodation and support to families in need who come to the Shanghai Fudan Children’s Hospital for medical treatment.
Enter Cuckoo Home, a YCIS service-based-learning project that focuses on raising students’ awareness about those families, and calls on the YCIS community to lend a helping hand in the form of donations, business projects, and social services.
Cuckoo Home was initiated by a group of Y12 students from YCIS Shanghai Puxi Gubei Campus, and instigated by Connie (pictured above, right). We sat down with the impressive 17-year-old to hear how it all got started.
"During the summer holiday, I read an article about an ongoing project by Shanghai Fudan University Children's Hospital, Xiao Bu Jia Yuan. As the cost of living in Shanghai is quite expensive, they offer free accommodation and food for young patients and their families coming to Shanghai to seek better medical treatment.
"It coincided with some great news that I received over the summer holiday: that I had successfully got my scholarship from YCIS. During my scholarship application, I decided that if I were to receive it, I really wanted to donate the money to a charity that I strongly connected with.
"When I was about three years old, I received surgery at Shanghai University Children's Hospital; I knew about the environment and felt a bond with the younger patients receiving medical treatment there. So, after reading the article, I decided to donate my scholarship to the charity organization.
“After my donation, I really wanted to do more, so I decided to introduce Cuckoo Home into YCIS Shanghai Gubei Secondary Campus. We wanted to create this service-based learning project that offers secondary students a chance to connect with society and have some engagement outside of school – providing volunteer help, donations and all kinds of support to the young patients’ families.
"After we launched our project, we organized a visit to the hospital apartment with some of my colleagues and co-founders of the Cuckoo Home project.
"We were invited to organize a surprise birthday party for one of the patients in the apartment, a 13 year old boy receiving medical treatment. Me and my fellow Cuckoo Home team members organized games and activities and ordered gifts and cakes for all the children to enjoy.
"We also visited during Mid-Autumn Festival, and ordered some mooncakes to give to the families. Sadly, the children were receiving their medical treatment in ICU emergency rooms; the festival is supposed to be celebrated with family, and I could feel the emotions of the patients’ families, which made me even more determined to give more to this project. So, after that visit, we organized some in-school projects.
"We have a team member who is really good at design, so we decided to create some originally designed products, such as hoodies and notebooks, and organized a charity sell at December’s YCYW TEDx 2022 event (you can read more about that right here), with all profits going back to Cuckoo Home to be used for upgrading accommodation facilities.
"I was very happy because we used our time and effort and gave something tangible to the charity project that was really needed."
Most recently, Connie reached out to the junior campus to get the younger students involved.
"Currently, we have an art collaboration project, in which we invited some of our younger students in the school community to join in.
"They are the same age as some of the young patients, and I really wanted to raise our whole community's awareness about the young patients’ situation, so I thought it would be nice if some of the children at the same age would create a kind of communication through art, even if they did not get to meet in person.
The younger students volunteered their own time during break and their free periods, and each created a one point perspective circular cityscape to be used to decorate the hospital apartments.
"Once we completed the art collaboration project, we curated all the art pieces in the apartment where the young patients and their families are currently living, decorating the spaces in the name of our whole school community. It was fantastic."
This was just the latest chapter in a series of charity sales, collaborative projects, donations, and visits organized for students across YCIS campuses to all get involved in Cuckoo Home, a project which nurtures the important virtues and skills of kindness, compassion, leadership and communication. Not to mention, it makes a tangible, real-world difference for the better.
As for Connie's hopes for the future, it is for Cuckoo Home to carry on and grow from strength to strength.
"My wish is that this project continues for years to come. After I graduate, I hope that some of the students that are younger than me take it over and really extend it, because I feel like Cuckoo Home is such a valuable project."
YCIS Character Education and Student Wellbeing Programme
YCIS Character Education and Wellbeing Programme provides children with a focus on positive values and helps them develop the skills to become global citizens.
The programme aims to support students in understanding themselves as individuals, developing healthy relationships with others, and the responsibilities of digital citizenship.
There is also an important focus on personal safety and body awareness. Through meaningful lessons, this programme equips students with the skills to make informed decisions and choices.
The programme provides a focus on the development of moral character, the importance of helping others, and the desire to make a difference in the world around them.
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