The Library Project
Service learning at Keystone plays a significant role in reinforcing Keystone’s five core values and providing high-quality moral education to students through community service based activities. Students learn invaluable leadership skills which they practice in group projects, and gain critical awareness and appreciation for differences between individuals, societies, and even other cultures. One group at Keystone that creates additional opportunities for service learning activities for all to get involved in is the Service Council. The Service Council is composed of over twenty students and supervised by two faculty members: Head of High School Diana Martelly and Admission Counselor Zadok Huang.
There are a number of annual activities that the Service Council organizes for members of the Keystone community. From Spring “Color Runs” to “Jeans Day” which raises funds and awareness for rescued animals, each Service Council activity has become regular a feature of the Service Council and provides meaningful ways for students to get involved with a cause and build relationships with non-for-profit organizations.
In 2017, Service Council students sought a Shunyi-based organization to which they could donate their time and efforts to in Shunyi. The Sun Village is a non-for profit organization in the area that provides literacy services for children with incarcerated parents. Keystone students immediately contacted the organization and began to devise a plan to provide more books and access to quality education to at-risk children, thus giving birth to “The Library Project”.
The Service Council not only wanted to build a library for the children at Sun Village, but they also aspired to use the library as a learning space and help develop and support a culture of reading at the organization. Unfortunately, Sun Village had to close its headquarters in early 2018 due to a fire that completely destroyed its infrastructure. This however, did not deter the Service Council from finding a new host organization to fulfill their dream: to build a library so that marginalized children have access to high quality books and education.
The Road to ACAMIS
During the weekend of March 3rd 2018 in Macau, China the Service Council received a service grant from ACAMIS (Association of Chinese and Mongolia International Schools). As a member of ACAMIS, Keystone participated in a national conference where students from numerous schools came together to “promote understanding and international friendship through activities of member schools” and “cooperate with other organizations and individuals pursuing similar purposes as ACAMIS.” Students eagerly submitted a proposal to ACAMIS describing “The Library Project” and their ambitions to build a library for independent, non-for profit organizations in Beijing.
As a reward for their efforts, the Director of ACAMIS awarded the students in the Service Council with a service grant of $2,500USD (16,250RMB) and wrote personally to Diana Martelly to congratulate to students, writing “this proposal was the best that ACAMIS has seen in years!”. Diana Martelly, one of the faculty advisors of the Service Council stated, “This is not a project that is exclusive to the Service Council. The Service Council is the one that organized this, but it’s open to anyone in our community. Other students can certainly volunteer and participate with the organization. To know that we have this seed money that supports us is motivating. Now, it’s time to get our hands dirty.”