On May 20th, eight young volunteers and two expatriate teachers from Shanghai High School International Division visited their video link program students from a rural school located in Guangde of Anhui Province, which is about 220 km away from Shanghai.
Since the beginning of the year, SHSID introduced a new program for 8th grade as a compulsory course called “Service Learning” to educate students to use what they have learned to give back to school and society. Stepping Stones’ videolink program trains volunteers to teach English through internet to left-behind children in rural China. With the help of their parents, ten young volunteers were mobilized to serve in Stepping Stones’ pilot video-link program at Guangde Zhenlong Primary School.
Despite the long distance between Guangde and Shanghai, the trip to Zhenlong school turned out to be very fruitful. The volunteers, warmly received by Zhenlong Primary School, also brought over one hundred English books, dictionaries and stuffies donated by SHSID students and set up a small reading corner for the kids. The volunteers were formed in pairs teaching English with different themes to 2nd graders of Zhenlong Primary School and played English games with them.
“Although we felt very tired after the long trip, we achieved so much from GIVING. We now understand the importance of service learning program. It is always so rewarding to provide constant, high-quality and in-depth community service by utilizing the skills and knowledge we have acquired, “ said Michelle Ding, leader of this program at SHSID. Michelle and her sister Angelina organized a successful charity concert in 2016 which raised 30,000 RMB to support Stepping Stones’ video link program.
Stepping Stones trains each video link volunteer and provides technical and teaching support for all lessons with an aim to find an efficient and sustainable way of reaching more disadvantaged groups in remote areas. Lessons are scheduled mainly on weekends or evenings, thus allowing more volunteers to get involved outside of work/school hours and with less travel needed.