Community Service Information
In recent years, the International School of Dakar has made a concerted effort to integrate more with the neighboring communities within Dakar and Senegal and provide more outreach and more opportunities for students to leave the comfortable “bubble” of ISD.
In 2008, the Board passed a policy changing graduation requirements to include a community service component. While this policy pertains to high school students, the community service emphasis and participation is school wide. We have created a position for a Service Coordinator who coordinates programs for the entire school and works with teachers to integrate the idea and practice of service to the community into the school culture. The school administration and staff feel that personal service to the local area is an important part of living in any community and, as such, the school should emphasize the practice in its offered activities.
For two years the policy has been in place, and the last of our students will graduate next year with the following modified requirements:
For 2011: graduates will complete 75 hours of community service
For 2012 and all subsequent years: graduates will complete 100 hours of community service over the 4 years of high school.
ISD has several official partner organizations with whom we work:
Pikine School: ISD has partnered with other organizations, including the US Embassy, and Dakar Women’s Group to outfit this school with the necessary materials for instruction and funds for building repairs and construction to allow it to grow and flourish. The school, officially named Yaayu Xaleyi (Mother of Children) mainly serves the underprivileged children of one of the poorer neighborhoods surrounding Dakar. The school is staffed by volunteers. ISD will continue to develop its relationship with Yaayu Xaleyi through student connections, fund raising, and teacher training.
SAMUsocial is a French international NGO which has been in existence in Dakar for many years. It provides shelter, medical care and education services to children living on the streets of Dakar. High School students go every week to the SAMUSocial center, and several times a year, we invite the children to come to ISD for fun and games. This year, 10 3rd grade students began visiting the shelter on Thursday afternoons. A recent move to a new facility will allow the shelter to expand the number of boys it serves and offer services to girls in need of emergency help as well. Some of our students even volunteer on their own time once they get to know the program and the children.
Habitat for Humanity: In what we hope is the beginning of a tradition, the Senior Class at ISD in conjunction with a students from the Ben Franklin International School in Barcelona, spent a week in January at the Habitat site in Keur Mbaye Fall building houses for local families. They spend a week away from classes working and getting to know the owners of the homes and their communities.
Students at ISD are welcome (and encouraged) to explore other ways to contribute to their local community and many students do contribute to other organizations. However, we, as a school, have found that it is best to develop lasting and solid relationships with a few organizations rather than working with new organizations each year.
Guidelines for Service Credit
Rationale for the Requirement: ISD considers it important that each student begin to develop a sense of his or her power to make a positive impact in the world. Part of this empowerment is moving outside of one’s self interests and into an attitude of serving others for their benefit alone. We ask that students seeking service credit for activities outside of ISD generated projects ask themselves the following questions:
- Did I initiate this activity with the idea of providing service to an individual or a group?
- Is this activity getting me out of my bubble of comfort by giving opportunity to work for or with people different (in terms of culture, economic status, age, education, etc.) from my chosen group of friends or my family?
- Will this activity challenge me to change the way I see myself in the world?
- If this were an ISD activity, would it build school pride?
If you can answer “yes” to these questions, your activity most likely qualifies for service credit. If, however, you can not answer yes to at least 3 of these questions, you should look for another activity for service.
The Activity: To be considered for service credit to count toward the minimum required hours, an activity must be overseen or organized by an adult or group of adults. The goal of the activity must be to perform a valuable service and/or meet a legitimate need. The work done, regardless of the level of service, must be done outside of school hours, without pay, and be unaffiliated with a grade for a class.
The activity must fit into one of the three levels of service:
- Direct Service – the student is working on site donating physical time and effort to complete a given project where it will directly benefit the people to which it is aimed
Examples: Habitat For Humanity Work Days, SAMUSocial Shelter Visits.
- Support Service – the student is collecting support (in terms of services or funding) for a particular event or cause. Examples: Bake Sale for Pikine, letters written to local businesses to get prizes for a silent auction which will benefit a cause.
- Documentation or Awareness – the student is working to raise awareness of an issue or document important information. Examples: creating brochures encouraging use of cloth shopping bags rather than plastic, creating and maintaining a website for the ISD Service Program.
Participation: Student time and effort donated to the activity must be verified by an adult with first-hand knowledge of both the activity and of the student’s participation.
Official Verification: Official verification for service hours completed apart from school generated projects is required for the time to apply to the school’s requirement and must include the following:
- Record of the amount of time donated in writing via a paper or electronic document. This document must be submitted to the service coordinator by an adult with first-hand knowledge of the student’s participation and must include contact information (i.e. email, phone number, or fax number) for the person submitting the verification. Students will not be given credit if the information can not be verified.
- A written description of the event and of the student’s participation in the event. This description is to be composed by the participating student and should accompany the verification submitted by the authorized adult. The description must include the following information:
- A detailed description of the activity, its goal and how it provided a valuable service or met a legitimate need.
- A detailed description of how the student participated in the activity and what he or she contributed to the cause to help meet the goal.
Transfer Credits: ISD will honor hours already credited to another school program such as IB CAS hours. Please have the appropriate person (CAS coordinator, service coordinator, school counselor, etc.) submit a document, which includes contact information, reporting hours from the other program.