All the best schools these days favor a holistic approach to education and strive to add character building aspects to their curriculum. However, the Yew Chung Educational Foundation (YCEF) adopted this approach of “educating the whole person” from the very beginning, 85 years ago. Built on the principle that the core purpose of education is character formation, each of the international kindergartens and schools in the YCEF network offers multifaceted programs with character education, community engagement, charity and service woven into the curriculum.
The Seeds of Hope project is one of the many initiatives that currently operates across all Yew Chung International Schools (YCIS) and Yew Wah International Education Schools (YWIES). Building on the idea that gratitude leads to empathy, which produces engagement, the project offers opportunities to cultivate compassion and bring healing to the world.
Born in 2008 as Sichuan Earthquake Educational Development (SEED), the project was originally a response to the devastating earthquake that had occurred in Sichuan that year. Through various fundraising activities, the YCIS schools collectively raised more than USD 200,000 to rebuild one of the primary schools in the province. Over the years, the project has been renamed Seeds Of Hope and the YCIS Schools have continued to raise funds and provide hands-on help to many sister schools in rural areas across China.
Ten years later, Mr. Casey Fanning, Character and Moral Education Development Officer at YCIS Beijing, tells us that Seeds of Hope is now expanding to include different types of charity initiatives that will benefit schools outside of China. “We’ve [Seeds of Hope] recently partnered with Kids International Ministries in the Philippines to purchase land and help construct a high school for an impoverished area outside Manila”, he explains.
In order to support the work of Seeds of Hope, the students, teachers, parents, staff, and supporters of the school have come together to create an event infused with the principles of Love and Charity, Art and Culture, that are present within the motto of YCIS.
On Saturday, April 21, YCIS and YWIES will host the second annual Seeds of Hope Charity Gala at Four Seasons Hotel in Beijing. Organized with the help of the YCIS Beijing Parent Organization, the event will also celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Yew Chung Educational Foundation (YCEF).
The Night at the Opera-themed evening promises to enchant the audience with enthralling musical pieces, as students from schools across the YCEF network perform on stage at the gala. The event is open to the public and guests can look forward to an inspiring evening celebrating key YCEF achievements and milestones while helping raise essential funds for the Seeds of Hope Project.
“The student performers were selected after a music competition conducted across the YCEF network and they are excited to experience a professional performance setting”, says Mr. Fanning. At YCIS, the creative arts are an important part of Character Education. “Besides building qualities such as perseverance and determination, music can help connect individuals more deeply to the world and it opens up new ways of seeing and expressing”, he adds.
Mr. Fanning also emphasizes the various service-focused activities conducted through all grade levels. The YCIS challenge, for example, encourages students to engage in meaningful service and sustainability practices while learning to navigate real-world situations. “[Students] enrolled in the International Baccalaureate curriculum, use the CAS (Community, Activity, and Service) requirement as a means to find and work with charities that interest them.”
Younger students also have the opportunity to learn about charity. For example, students from YCIS and YWIES are currently participating in the Piggy Bank Fund Raising initiative, where they are each given a piggy bank and a QR code to accept donations for the new school in the Philippines. At the end of the initiative, around 9,000 piggy banks will be collected and the school that raised the highest amount will be declared the winner.
Service-focused projects show students what can be achieved when we work together. By designing curriculums that enable students to connect and give back to society, YCIS Beijing and other schools throughout the YCEF network are not only helping provide immediate aid to impoverished communities, they are also shaping the moral, spiritual, cultural, and social intelligence of future global citizens.
Tickets to the Seeds of Hope Charity Gala are priced at RMB 1,000 for an individual ticket and RMB 10,000 for a table. Tickets can be purchased via the following link: yoopay.cn/event/54868243
This post is sponsored by YCIS Beijing.
Photos: Uni You