Caring Participation in the World: Waynflete Faculty and Students “Shoulder to Shoulder” as Global Citizens

The Waynflete mission includes “caring participation in the world” as a core value of the School.  The realities of globalization are calling for a new kind of student preparedness – one that arises from an emphasis on service, empathy, human dignity and community engagement while acknowledging our shared destiny.  We are pleased to announce that Waynflete is now a coalition member of Students Shoulder to Shoulder, an International School of Global Citizenship.  The Coalition offer opportunities for our own faculty to travel and learn about integrating global awareness into their work here at school.  Shoulder to Shoulder’s hands on service trips are open to 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th who want to actively engage in service learning in the U.S. and abroad and take place in June and July in 9 diverse locations, 2 in the U.S. and 7 abroad. Last year, 6-12 faculty member Jim Millard traveled to Cambodia to learn more about SStS and spoke highly of the opportunity to problem solve global issues in a hands on way with a small group of 8-10 committed young people from other member schools.  Read more about the different projects and locations at shouldertoshoulder.com.

 

Says faculty member, Jim Millard, “My experience in Cambodia with SStS reached deep into all parts of my consciousness. Traveling to the other side of the planet, seeing a culture completely different from ours, living with people with whom I could barely speak because we do not share a language and realizing that when we examine the core values of our lives, we are all the same, made me know in the deepest way possible that our world is one community in need of the same essential nurturing — decent food and shelter, basic medical care, and human love and respect. And that for far too many of us, much of this is missing. I returned with greater resolve to help others share this view of the world and work to change it.”

 

Meredith Nelligan, ‘14 and Forest Chap ‘13 also went on trips to Nepal and Cambodia respectively.   They both speak of their experiences as “life-changing” and catalysts for a strong commitment to future global service.  Forest Chap worked with young students on a remote island of Koh Preah, Cambodia and shares the impact of being immersed in their world.

 

“My trip to Cambodia was not just a service trip. It was a chance of a lifetime. The people I met, jobs I did and places I went truly changed me bringing curiosity to the forefront of my mind, and behind it, the drive to pursue something greater than myself.  Though I was half-way around the world and in the middle of a jungle, out of my element in a challenging setting, I saw the light through the shade. Waynflete taught me core values vital to the person I am today: be curious, be accepting and go after what you love. These came together in a dusty classroom on the island of Koh Preah, Cambodia where, despite a huge language barrier between myself and the kids, I found familiar ground through drawing. Back and forth we went, drawing and translating in our own tongues, teaching and learning, together.  Moments like this cannot be taught and must be experienced.  SStS is about creating connections, and helped me realize the common bonds that all human beings share.”

 

Shoulder to Shoulder trips begin with pre-trip online curriculum to help faculty and students learn in depth about the country where they’ll serve. Close ongoing relationships with NGO leaders ensure the projects are meaningful and useful to each community.  Groups work hard every day, experience a home-stay, form close knit bonds and expand their comfort zone through conversation and reflection.  Students get to learn experientially that they are not too young to apply real world solutions to specific environmental, social and educational challenges through hard work and collaboration.

 

We are looking forward to the ways that Waynflete’s own faculty and students can bring new perspectives and learning from Shoulder to Shoulder trips back to Waynflete as they work together on the opportunity to host our own school-wide Global Forum next fall.  Our willingness to seek understanding, to collaborate and to communicate across differences are critical factors in a positive future for our planet.  Students interested in Shoulder to Shoulder trips can contact Lydia Maier, Upper School Dean of Students and visit shouldertoshoulder.com to learn more.