Selina and Cici: Getting Involved with Giving Back
In this week’s edition of Student Blogs, we meet YCIS Beijing Year 12 students Selina and Cici. Selina and Cici are heavily involved with a range of charitable activities in Beijing and beyond. Here they discuss their most memorable experiences, why charity is so important to them and offer advice to other students looking to follow in their footsteps.
Please introduce yourselves
Selina: My name is Selina and I’m a YCIS Beijing student in Year 12. I’m from Hong Kong.
Cici: My name is Cici Lin and I’m also a Year 12 student from Hong Kong.
What activities and charities are you involved with at school?
Selina: I’m involved with A Voice for Animals, The Zebra Project, Migrant Children’s Foundation (MCF) and the Charity Dinner which this year is raising money for A Voice for Animals.
Cici: I’m part of Student Leadership and Help a Child Smile and I’m the school’s leader of Migrant Children’s Foundation and A Voice for Animals.
As part of Student Leadership, we organise different school events such as the Christmas Bazaar and Global Community Day. Proceeds for these days go towards our school charities.
Help a Child Smile raises money to provide cleft palate surgery to children in Beijing.
A Voice for Animals rescues stray animals and provides shelter.
Migrant Children’s Foundation supports migrant schools around Beijing, offering education and healthcare to the children of migrant workers. We visit these schools and give additional lessons to the children. We also have plans to run some events and outings with the children there because we want them to feel more involved in local culture and feel at home in Beijing.
What’s it like to be involved in so many organisations?
Selina: I like being occupied, and charity work makes me feel good because I know I am making a difference to people’s lives – even if it’s only a small one. We are so fortunate to have everything we have and be part of a great school such as YCIS Beijing, but there are people all around us who haven’t been so lucky. While we may not be able to change everything, we can make small changes around us.
How has YCIS Beijing helped you pursue your own interests?
Selina: YCIS Beijing gives us lots of opportunities to pursue our interests by allowing us to choose what clubs and activities we join – all my charity work has really been my choice. We also have more free time here than at other schools – there is time to explore interests outside of the curriculum and we are really encouraged to do so.
How have teachers and friends at YCIS Beijing helped support you with your charity work?
Selina: For most of our charity work, we plan activities and come up with ideas as a group – of classmates and friends. It’s been great experience working so collaboratively. You can’t do these kinds of things alone!
Cici: Teachers help us a lot with our charity work. If we want to put on a fundraising event at school, teachers will help us with school policy and organising dates. Parents are enormously helpful too – for example students, teachers and parents were all involved in the organization of the Christmas Bazaar and Chinese Temple Fair.
What has been your most memorable experience and why?
Selina: The Zebra project has been the most memorable experience for me. The Zebra project was initiated by YCIS Beijing a few years ago – it’s not connected to any charity. We donate clothes and books to children in a county called Banma (which sounds like Chinese for Zebra but the characters are different). The memorable part of Zebra this year was when we received photos of the children wearing the clothes and holding the books that we donated. It made me feel like I’d made a real difference.
Cici: My most memorable experience has been visiting the migrant school. The quality of their lives is very different to ours and we witnessed it first-hand. The children were so happy with the learning materials that we bought them – but I actually think we can never fully understand how much it meant to them. It’s been incredibly special sharing an experience like that with children we otherwise wouldn’t have known. I’m looking forward to working with them more and showing them new things.
Do you have any advice for other students who want to do the same thing as you?
Selina: I would really encourage others to get involved with charity. I initially started because it was compulsory for me as part of CAS (Community Action Service), but as I got more and more involved I discovered that I really enjoyed it. I felt really positive about the difference that I was able to make and learned a lot about myself.
Cici: I would suggest joining a cause that you are interested in and passionate about. If the school doesn’t offer something that you are interested in, you can create your own group to pursue it instead. It’s important to care about the cause as it’ll motivate you to work harder and you will find that you make more of a difference.