Service Learning

Service Learning New Year!

Todd Davis, Service Learning Coordinator

6 January 2020

The new year is always a good time for reflection on what we’ve been doing to make a positive difference in our own lives and in the lives of others. As well, it’s a good time to step back, look ahead to any changes or resolutions we would like to make for the new year. Below we’ll walk through some ways ISY students, parents, teachers, and staff have engaged in meaningful service, and we’ll reflect on a few questions to consider when forming resolutions for the new year.

As we look back on 2019, it’s encouraging to see so many ISY students and teachers more fully using the 5 stages of service learning: Investigation, Preparation, Action, Reflection and Demonstration, leading towards better choices for the environment, improved educational opportunities for children locally and in remote villages, and a stronger all around community at ISY.

Christmas Bazaar

A great example of the 5 Stages of Service Learning came from our KG students and teachers who developed and sponsored the first annual “Christmas Bazaar” that was held on Dec. 5th, 2019. This event raised over $800 USD in about 1 hour! To do this, KG students investigated and understood the importance of ISYs partnership with United World Schools (UWS) to improve educational opportunities by building a new school for the children of Wan Kaung Village in the Shan State. So they planned for and created handicrafts and greeting cards which sold like “hot cakes” and enlivened the community holiday spirit. Thanks again to the parents and community members who showed up to support this special fundraiser.


Secondary students and supervisors of the UWS group organized the 2nd annual ISY Sports-a-thon. Students of all grade levels K-12, and their parents (sponsors) came out in large numbers to have fun cheering each other on while challenging their athletic abilities. It was great to see students running laps, shooting goals, swimming, jumping rope, walking a tight rope (slack line) and more! Together we raised over $3,400 USD to support the construction and ongoing costs of the Wan Kaung School. 100% of these donations goes directly towards the UWS school’s teacher salaries, teacher training, construction and playground maintenance, and resources for the school.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in this year’s Sports-a-thon!



Sustainability & Service on

Week Without Walls

Week Without Walls has become increasingly centered around sustainability and service. Students not only travel to unique locations in Myanmar, but while they’re there, they learn hands-on approaches to environmental sustainability issues. One example includes, the first ever “Mangroves Trip” which found high school students in the thick of investigation about the lifecycle and the benefits to climate change of planting Mangroves. Students spent 4 nights camping right next to the Mangrove forest that they were investigating. They even cleared some land and planted over 100 trees! 

Another good example happened during the G9 WWW trip. Students traveled to Kalaw for 4 nights and really dug deep into what it means to work towards sustainability.

Students actually constructed their own solar panels, six in total (see photo). These solar panels are currently at ISY ready to be used as “charging stations” for any USB device. This type of hands-on work allows students to understand how solar panels actually work and how they are put together.

Additionally, G9 students built a greenhouse out of recycled water bottles (see photo). They learned how to make bricks for buildings out of local materials, again hands-on. They planted over 300 trees to help off-set the carbon footprint of flying to Kalaw. And they worked with children in a remote local village near by the place where they hiked to and camped out for a night. 

It’s great to see this link between WWW and Service Learning happening at ISY. Students love the hands-on work, especially when they see their efforts being put to good use.



Service learning “Shout outs!”

  • Thank you P.A. for the five service learning grants of $300 USD each. Congratulations to Yangon Animal Shelter (YAS); Urban Bee Keeping; Media Club; MS Community Kitchen; & Myanmar Children’s Health Project (MCHP) for being awarded these grants!
  • EARTH DAY SPARK! event was successful at creating partnerships between ISY students and teachers with a wide-range of local organizations / experts ranging from “Upcycling” (Mickey’s) to “Renewing Yangon” (Doh Eain). Thank you to ISY parents Sylvie Zaitra and Jessica Farmer for generously helping to organize this event.
  • The 5th Grade students visited Bokashi to explore the benefits of composting. Nice work G5!
  • The New Children’s Choir completed two concerts in December. The choir is comprised of orphans and children from around the city, including children from ISY. Great collaboration for a meaningful project!
  • The Drama classes created vignettes centered around inspirational quotes. Check out this example: Quotes to speech.
  • The “Music for our Community” service group just fulfilled a great service opportunity during the 2019 Winter Concert Extravaganza by supervising rooms and students, helping to set up chairs, stands, and musical equipment, putting directional signs up, putting clips on the music stands and various other pre-concert duties.
  • Please check out the Compassionate Chinthes’ website about their visit to the Hpone Htet Monastic School in Yangon. You will love this!
  • Learn more about why it is important to recycle from these two student created Recycling ASA short videos. Recycling ASA Video 1. Recycling ASA Video 2.
  • Last but not least, Congratulations to Global, the student generated news source about Service Learning events happening at ISY. Global’s article, “The Climate is Changing, So Why Aren’t We?” made it as the “Centerpiece” in the December 2019 issue of The International Educator (TIE) newspaper. This newspaper is read by international teachers and administrators in hundreds of schools around the world. I’m very proud of the great work Global is doing to spread the news about the great Service Learning initiatives happening at ISY!

New Year’s Resolutions

Lifelong Service takes practice, awareness, reflection, and above all, Compassion. When we look ahead to the new year, this is a great opportunity we all have to consider any positive changes we might want to make so we can be of even more benefit than we were the previous year. Questions like these (below) can help guide our choices and make us better, happier, and even more engaged global citizens.

How can I become more aware of the authentic needs in the communities around me?

Can I make more of an effort to address these needs through giving of my time, energy, money, and material items?

How can I more effectively use the 5 stages of service learning in order to make my efforts more positive and impactful?

How might I become more aware of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and my ability to positively address them in my classroom, at home with my family, in my job, and/or with the broader community?

How can I become a happier, more joyful and engaged individual who cares and believes in my ability to make a positive difference in my community and in the world?

If you would like to find out more about how you can help or get involved with service learning at ISY, please contact the ISY Service Learning Coordinator, Todd Davis at


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