At the International Community School (Singapore), we firmly believe that a well-rounded education includes a healthy balance of nurturing good character by both including a social responsibility program and by serving the community in which the students live.
These efforts have enhanced the caring culture in ICS and students have been given the opportunity to reflect on their own values, beliefs, and behaviors. This in turn has enriched the academic learning experiences and encouraged students to be empathetic and serve the community in which they live.
In 2008, ICS established a social responsibility program called Week Without Walls (WWW). This program is certified by Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission and is a mandatory cross-cultural service program for all full-time high school students. During the first quarter of the school year, students and their parents select the top three choices of teams that they would prefer to join, and the school places them on a team with their choices as a major consideration. Weekly team meetings provide a small group setting to offer support and foster community within the student body. All of the trips are organized and lead by the high school faculty. Teams have served in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The WWW program aims to see students:
- Exposed to other cultures outside of Singapore
- Develop a deeper appreciation for ways in which they have been blessed
- Experience the value of serving others
- Provide leadership opportunities
- Develop problem solving skills
- Foster teamwork
- Encourage unity in the student body
- Build cross-cultural friendships
For this current semester, our students served the local Singapore community at The Salvation Army (The Haven) in Pasir Panjang, Youth for Christ in Geylang, Willing Hearts in Kembangan, Health Serve in Geylang, Teen Challenge in Choa Chu Kang and Lakeside Student Care Centre in Jurong West.
The students were tasked to plan fun activities, arrange for a meal to be served, and build caring relationships. There were 100 students who were involved in this program and each group had a faculty to accompany and oversee the planning and execution of the activities.
ICS' High School Principal, Mr. Dean Weiss summarized, "We have been instructed to take care of the orphan and widows (James 1:27). In our society today, this equates to the downtrodden, forgotten, and the lost. So when our students commit to serving others with a heart of empathy and love, and treat them with respect and dignity- these are the ways we show love for the people that society deems unimportant. When we serve locally, remember we are making an impact through this program that is immense and eternal."