'Take my hand': A celebration of Service Learning

"Take my hand."

Three words, said to a man in need.

That man? Mark Fuhrmann on his solo kayak journey from Oslo to Athens, when his kayak capsized in the Atlantic Ocean and he had to be rescued by the Swedish Search and Rescue team.

Mark, from The Piece Prize, was the guest speaker on Monday night at the Service Learning celebration in the High School: a joyous, thought-provoking and at times touching round-up of the service of CAS students in the community over the past year.

Organised by Service Learning/CAS Coordinator Michelle Brown, the event was co-hosted by Grade 11 students Sam Barnett and Riccardo Maggioni. They led parents, siblings, staff and other CAS students on a journey through the projects that the students have been involved in this year, for example, working in elderly homes, with the homeless and refugees communities in Brussels, and with under-privileged local families.

The highlighted project of the evening was 'Snapshots of Brussels' - a collaboration between seven students who documented through a website, book and short film, the very real plight - and human nature - of some of those who live in our community and have little or nothing to their name.

Guest speaker Mark held the audience captivated with his entertaining and poignant stories of his solo kayak travels and perils. His journey has one aim: to find, share, and promote peace in the communities he encounters. His project, called the Piece Prize because we are all pieces of a puzzle in creating a peaceful world, supports worthy organisations and charities that he encounters along the way. Present at the event were Nino and Michelle, both of whom featured in the Snapshots of Brussels documentary for their work with homeless and refugees, and other members of organisations that ISB works with. Nino from Unless, Anne Hedoin-Dupree on behalf of Maison des Femmes and our own Michelle Brown were presented with donations to put towards their charities and projects. There was hardly a dry eye in the house as Michelle accepted Mark's gift to the Service Learning programme at ISB with a stunned expression and tears in her own eyes.

The evening - and the work of Nino, Unless, Mark and of course all 480 High School students involved in Service Learning projects - was best summed up by Mark when he said that everyone should say to someone: "Take my hand". Reach out to someone in need and help them up again.

If you missed the celebration evening, you can watch the documentary and purchase the book via the Snapshots of Brussels website. The book is also available on sale at Michelle Brown's office in the HS. You can also view photos from the event below: