What is Service?

Written by Raihanah Azman and Lucy Watson (Year 12)

Is it the giant leap in which we tire ourselves relentlessly over others...
Or, can it be as simple as holding the door open for the next person?

Well, Service can be many things; it is considering how our actions may have a positive influence on other people, and it can mean placing others’ needs before our own sometimes.

At BIS Abu Dhabi, we practice Service as principles of learning. The action of acknowledging and giving back to those who have given to, and supported us. Service action is the embodiment of the school values of kindness, respect, and honesty - the three foundations that we in BIS Abu Dhabi follow in our attitudes towards each other. In Secondary, we have begun many acts of Service since the year has started, in our actions towards each other, but also in our efforts to fundraise to support our project work in Tanzania.

Last week, we had our first ever Service Leader's Workshop, with Year 7 students coming together with students all the way up to Year 13. This meeting was our time together to discuss how as a school, we are able to promote the service ethos for all the students in our school and how Service Leaders can support our actions in our School, Community and the planet with global issues.

The UN's Global Goals focus of Sustainable Cities and Communities and Responsible Consumption and Production is one of our areas of global focus. When relating the Global Goals with our efforts in school, this helps everyone become more interested. As Service Leaders, our main goal is to make a change in the school's environment and help all students know how to get involved in supporting others.

In preparation for this group meeting, we collected some ideas in our Form Groups and thought of ways we could provide service for the following goals: our School, our Community, and Globally; this was written on a large sheet of a paper and given to each form class. All ideas were welcomed; sometimes it is something as small as a smile that could make the biggest change.

On the day of the workshop, all these ideas were gathered together. In our teams we selected the best ideas from all the classes in Secondary. This was our aim for the workshop, as well as uniting the secondary Service Leaders as a whole, in order to collaborate with all our different age groups. The workshop was amazing, in a way that you can't experience without being there yourself - the cooperation between the youngest year 7's and the eldest year 13's brought an eye-opening experience to what working as one group with a shared goal could really feel like.

Our next step is to bring these ideas into action. Although there were many good ideas, there are only so many that we can execute as a whole school to make them really successful, so we needed to prioritise. We now have a plan and ideas of what we can do next, starting in school, in our community and how we can make an impact globally. Some ideas included having Meatless Mondays in school to raise awareness on ecological and ethical impacts of meat production, recycling books and toys to support fundraising, giving our time to support and mentor other students in school.

Service is of course not limited to those of us who are called Service Leaders, even without the title, anybody can and should do service to help other people. All students and parents can contribute by pitching in their own ideas or helping us spread the word and help make Service events happen.

We hope that by having our Service Leaders workshop and making a plan, we will inspire those who don't particularly do Service, to have a go, take the risk of being a global citizen and think about how they can help others.