By Grace H, Middle School Student Council
This year, the Middle School Student Council (MS STUCU) organized the first ever virtual Smile Week! Annual Smile Week scenes like those pictured were not possible because of Covid-19, but this long-standing International School of Beijing (ISB) charity initiative moved online instead.
In the past, we raised money for Ping An Foster Home to provide surgery for babies with a cleft lip or palate. This year, new regulations meant that orphans in Beijing have been relocated to other parts of China. Smile Week now supports Peace House and the HaoDe Family Strengthening Program. Both of these programs come under the same umbrella organization that Ping An Foster Home once did, so we are continuing this relationship.
To get everything done, we divided our Smile Week committee into different sub-committees, according to which fundraising area they would focus on. We had committees dedicated to the Minecraft tournament, concert, Peace House interview, and Sending Smiles activities that would form big parts of the week, running from May 18 to 21 (Friday, May 22 was a school holiday).
Usually, students and teachers can purchase paper smiles to write a message on and share with others, but this year we worked to bring this great Smile Week tradition online, and smiles could be sent via email instead. We also collaborated with the PE department so that students could get sponsors for participating in the Region Challenge, where students got points for the region of the world in which they are located for taking part. For Smile Week, it was a TikTok challenge, although students were also free to choose their own challenge to raise money.
MS STUCO members and teachers met via Zoom to organize this year’s Smile Week
We all met via Zoom and advertised through social media and ISB online platforms. It was a bit of a challenge to spread the word as we were doing it virtually. We learned so much about how to collaborate online.
We also learned a lot about the different programs we are helping through our Peace House committee’s Zoom interview with a member of the charity organizations. We discovered how fortunate we are to have such convenient online learning at ISB as many kids in the Family Strengthening Program have many struggles with eLearning equipment.
Smile Week had a lot of challenges this year. However, committee members agreed that it was a huge success. At the time of writing, we have raised 28,319.34 RMB and counting!
We would like to thank everyone who contributed their time to help us with Smile Week and also all those in our community who participated in events and donated to the cause. It is still possible to donate by WeChat if you missed out the first time around!