Sunday, March 31, 2013

Almost 9 Months After

It's been about nine months since the conference in Segovia and graduation is coming up soon! Just one month until the final IB exams and then a month later I'll have officially graduated from high school! College admissions decisions have been rolling in during the past week and I've decided on the University of Southern California with a major in Neuroscience, so stoked!

In the past few months, between all the IAs and sports and whatnot, I've taken up tutoring. After coming back from the conference in Segovia, thoughts of the project that my team and I had worked on continued to occupy my mind. Our plan to build a school got me thinking about education and teaching, and soon after the school year started, I began private tutoring for primary school children in my school. As I took on more and more students and learned how to deal with young kids in a way to make learning more enjoyable for them, I started leaning towards the idea of teaching the children of my local community who attend public schools. Then, a friend of mine began discussing ideas of going to a cancer centre in Jakarta every weekend and playing with the children there. So, my friends and I began making contact with the directors of the centre to start a program in which we could teach the children, as they don't attend school. The children come from families that do not have the money to pay hospitals to keep their children staying in hospital rooms, and so the children and their families live in the centre instead. We began visiting the centre in September, first bringing toys and colouring sheets to connect and be friends with the children before bringing out the math books. We started with very basic mathematics, and since pausing the program in early March due to the upcoming final IB exams, some of the children have mastered their times tables :)  It really feels great to be able to give back to our community and help those who have less than us.

Here I am with my friends and one of our students!

Sadly, since the pausing of our program, one of the young girls has passed away from her cancer. When the cancer centre called my friends and I to let us know of this, we were absolutely stunned. Even though we knew all the kids were ill, it never crossed our minds that one day they might be gone. These children were always happy and playing, and in the times we had gone to the centre not one frown was to be seen. Her passing opened our eyes to the reality that loved ones may be taken away from us at any moment and that we need to cherish every minute we spend together. Rest in peace always, Calista. xx