Service Learning At Its Best Kaye Bach Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
Nathaniel Edds, a Grade 10 SAS High School student, exemplifies a true ambassador for service learning at our school. Nathaniel and his family have been very actively involved with the NGO Caring for Cambodia (CfC) since its inception in 2002. The Edds family has been responsible for building preschools within the CfC communities. Nathaniel has traveled to Siem Reap on numerous occasions to be a part of this amazing process. Cambodia has captured Nathaniel’s heart in more ways than one, and this year he initiated a project soon to benefit literally thousands of young Cambodian children growing up in the communities CfC has nurtured and developed. Nathaniel is a Boy Scout and recently completed the biggest step to earn his Eagle Scout award. In preparing for his induction, Nathaniel recently completed his independent service project. This project had to demonstrate leadership skills, and required approval by the Eagle Scout committee of the Boy Scouts of America. With a little soul-searching Nathaniel decided he would raise money for CfC as part of his project. He put his creative skills to work, and decided the way to raise the money was to organize an inaugural dance-a–thon at his home. He issued invitations to friends and fellow supporters of CfC to attend the dance-a–thon on November 19. Much to his delight and relief, on that day 47 children came and danced the night away. The participants all received an orange tee shirt stating I DANCED
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FOR A PLAYGROUND, food and drink was donated for the event, and as a result of of this fun evening Nathaniel raised $3,000 Singapore dollars. The next stage of this project was to follow through and make the construction of the playground happen. During Chinese New Year, a group of 23 CfC supporters, of which Nathaniel was a key member, traveled to Siem Reap to begin construction of the playground and attend the dedication of a new preschool building. Nathaniel and his team worked tirelessly alongside the Cambodian team of workers to build this project. Working together they dug holes for the foundation work, prepared lumber, poured cement, and nailed slats. At the end of the long weekend the playground was complete and Nathaniel’s project was accomplished with great success. As a teacher and keen promoter of service learning within our school community, I hold Nathaniel’s example of giving as a true model for others. The skills involved in initiating and completing such a project are numerous. The ability to lead a project from conception to fruition demonstrates true leadership. Nathaniel has been instrumental in giving something very tangible to the children of CfC communities in Siem Reap, and he has also provided an opportunity for students in the SAS community to look beyond themselves and think of others less fortunate. I am proud to know Nathaniel, and believe he has much to teach others about true service.
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