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Ivy’s Commitment to Dream in DLS & the Awareness of “Left-behind” Children in Mainland China

Jan. 30, 2018

“IB Learners strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a commitment to service – making a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.”

International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)

 Born in Toronto, and returning to China at the age of 1, Ivy Fok joined the International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (ISNS) community three years ago.

Currently in Grade 9, Ivy’s commitment to service reaches beyond the borders of ISNS. For the last three years, Ivy has been working with a charity organization called, Dream in DLS. She spends her summers volunteering with “left-behind” children on teaching and activity projects in DaLiangShan, Sichuan, Mainland China. 

“The reason I chose to get involved with charity work is because helping others allows me to realize my value in present-day society.”

Ms. Ivy Fok, Grade 9 student at ISNS

In October of 2017, Ivy saw an opportunity to spread awareness to the ISNS community about the Dream in DLS project. Her vision was to hold a clothing donation for the children of DaLiangShan.

After several months of reaching out to the community via social media platforms, webcam, and community PR events, Ivy successfully, with the help of her team, shipped 850 articles of clothing back to DaLiangShan. Ivy’s service as action provided children who have been left-behind by their parents and society studying at the Maka Primary School, comfort and warmth during a brutally cold winter. 

We sat down with Ivy to discuss how she successfully actioned her service initiative and to learn more about the Dream in DLS project. 

 Q: Ivy, you took the initiative to bring your passion for working with Dream in DLS to the ISNS community through a clothing drive. How did you begin the process?

A: I began by organizing my mission, vision and goals into a PowerPoint presentation so that I could help bring awareness to the poverty and poor conditions that the “left-behind” children are living in. The presentation was powerful in explaining the details about this project; what our community needs to do in order to help these children.

I followed my PowerPoint with a more engaging and visual presentation using Webcam. This form of media allowed me to connect with the kids in younger grades so that they too could understand what is going on in rural China. 

But I couldn’t stop there… I had to keep the initiative fresh in the minds of my peers. I continued to share the clothing drive, our mission and what we could achieve through online and social media platforms. 

Q: What were your key challenges in bringing this project to the ISNS community?

A: The process of packing and sending the clothing!

In the beginning, my team and I were going to use sacks to pack and send the donated clothing. However, when we arrived at the Post Office, we found that a new policy had been implemented which didn’t allow for us to pack the clothes using sacks.

Therefore, my friends and support team, Sophia Qiu and David Xu, helped me to re-pack the donated clothes into boxes. We spent almost four hours re-packing clothes. Although a small obstacle, this challenge taught me to research and plan before taking action to ensure we can effectively execute what we set out to do. 

Without the help of my friends in both the packing and spreading awareness, the clothing drive would not have been as successful as it was.

Q: What were your key challenges in bringing this project to the ISNS community?

A: The process of packing and sending the clothing!

In the beginning, my team and I were going to use sacks to pack and send the donated clothing. However, when we arrived at the Post Office, we found that a new policy had been implemented which didn’t allow for us to pack the clothes using sacks.

Therefore, my friends and support team, Sophia Qiu and David Xu, helped me to re-pack the donated clothes into boxes. We spent almost four hours re-packing clothes. Although a small obstacle, this challenge taught me to research and plan before taking action to ensure we can effectively execute what we set out to do.

Without the help of my friends in both the packing and spreading awareness, the clothing drive would not have been as successful as it was.

Q: Your efforts showed initiative & perseverance, two concepts of Service as Action. What skills did you develop?

Overall, two skills which I consistently used throughout the process was communication and collaboration.

 I actioned my communications skills in various ways: 

Charity organization: ‘Dream in DLS’

-   I obtained the information of the left-behind children

  • Number of children
  • Their personal details: address, etc. 

-   The details of the clothing drive

  • What we needed to do in order to help them to endure the upcoming winter
  • When the clothing is needed

Ms. Crossman (Our school organizer)

-    In collaboration with my school organizer, Ms. Crossman, I designed the plan

  • What we needed to do in order to get ISNS students and parents involved in the activity)
  • Set the goals: what we need to achieve through this activity

Teammates & Helpers

-   Planned the procedure

  • How we should execute the activity
  • Suggestions and feedback on things how we could improve actions as well as what was working efficiently. 

Driver who helped us to deliver the donated clothes

-   I explained the purpose of what we were doing with the donation and what he needed to do in order to deliver the packages successfully.

Post Officers

-   I explained the purpose and the objective of doing the clothing drive activity.

-   They informed us of the mailing procedure and the choices of mailing cost. 

I actioned my collaboration skills in various ways:

Teammates & Helpers

-   We organized and counted the donated clothes during lunch recess approximately twice a week.

-   We overcame obstacles when facing problems

Post Officers

-   Helped us to re-pack the donated clothes

-   Helped us to select the most affordable and fastest plan of mailing

And everyone who was involved and participated in this clothing drive

-   Without their support and cooperation, the clothing drive would not have been as successful and we would not have achieved our goal.


Q: Would you initiate another clothing drive in the future? 

A: I would certainly like to initiate another clothing drive or a similar charitable activity in the future, in order to bring awareness to these children and let more and more people understand that there are places in China where children and people are in dire need of help. 

In addition, one of my personal goals I have for the future is to continue to help children who have so little, but can give us so much!

Q: How did the clothing drive make you feel after it came to an end?  

A: I felt generous and proud of myself and my team! We helped people who are in desperate need. I hope we influenced the ISNS community and set a good example for future service initiatives.

 In addition, I felt fortunate to have so many helpful people support the clothing drive and encourage me to take real actions. Lastly, I felt delighted and thankful that so many ISNS students and parents participated and helped the children of DaLiangShan. 

Q: If you were talking to someone and they had no intention of par-taking in a clothing drive – how would you persuade them?

A: I would share the story of these children and the conditions they live in. One of my goals is to help bring awareness to the children of DaLiangShan who live in poverty and harsh conditions. I want to be able to share my experience of teaching these children, and hopefully in turn, inspire others to help those less fortunate. 

Q: Do you see yourself being involved in more service projects in the future? If so, are there any you would particularly want to be involved in?

A: Personally speaking, I want to contribute to our society through helping the left-behind children, in order to help promote the development of rural areas in China. I will still work on community service projects and visit areas of poverty once a year.

I also want to help eliminate the gap between rural and urban areas, so that children living in these rural areas have opportunities to see the world. Lastly, I want to raise the awareness of this issue to the community, and I hope that more and more people support those in need. 

I want is to inspire and bring more love into the world!

Ivy Fok