ISP Service Learning at the MamonĂ­ Valley Preserve

By Kael Shipman 18 May, 2015

This weekend we had the pleasure of hosting the International School of Panama's Talent Development Program Service Learning task force—a group of eight industrious and motivated students from ISP's elementary school and high school.

Photo of Grey

"What I learned today was that sometimes people from the city take a lot of things for granted, and that we need to help others that don't have as much as we do." – 10-year-old Grey Murray during our reflection circle at night.

Foto: Kael Shipman

The 4 elementary school boys wanted to provide a way for kids living in rural, off-grid environments to have access to light at night that would help them work on their homework, read, or get around the community without problems. They came up with a solar-powered night-light that they called Sun Jars, and amazingly, after engineering a prototype, the kids launched a crowdfunding campaign that raised over $3,000 to fund the project!

The girls on the trip—representing the ISP high school—had two goals. The first was to improve recreational facilities in La Zahina through a set of easy-to-assemble soccer goals made of pvc piping, and the donation of old sports balls that they gathered from friends and family. The goals went up lightening fast, and we had a great time playing ball afterwards.

Their second goal was to create a relationship with the community of La Zahina that would help them and their classmates work with community members to deliver solutions and aid over the long term where it's really needed. The girls interviewed several families in town to ask how they thought the school could best help them solve some of their more serious problems, like access to good health care and supplies, and improving the quality of their education. They plan to use this information to design more directed service campaigns in the near future.

The kids were a pleasure to host, and demonstrated the level of maturity, thoughtfulness and drive that we strive to foster here at Earth Train. They're welcome back any time, and we'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment of ISP's Service Learning initiatives!

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