Since April 2014, the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, has been contaminated by lead. It’s created a serious public health danger, and is the suspected cause of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, which has killed 12 people.
IB Diploma Programme (DP) students at Goshen High School, in Indiana, were keen to help out, so they contacted IB World School Flint Southwestern Classical Academy, in Michigan. The school was receiving plenty of water donations, but was growing increasingly concerned about what to do with all of the empty water bottles.
As part of their Creativity Activity Service (CAS) project, the students in Indiana organized 50 recycling bin barrels to be delivered to Flint to help the school collect the bottles. Almost everyone at Goshen High School, and within the community, got involved.
Students from across all grades decorated the barrels to add a personal, creative touch to the project. The barrels, paint, supplies and transport were donated from the city of Goshen, local businesses and parents.
The students personally delivered the barrels, and it was an exciting day for everyone, says Theresa Collins, DP Coordinator. “The day we went to Flint was pretty amazing – one of our students did a live interview with a local television reporter in the morning before we left. When we arrived at Southwestern, their IB students were at the door, personally cheering and welcoming us with signs. They planned icebreaker activities and games, and they hosted lunch for us, too.”
Ben Hathaway, Goshen High School DP student says one of the main things he took away from the experience was being able to put names and faces to an issue that he had only ever read about before. “Interacting with and building personal relationships with the students helped to humanize what had previously existed to me as a seemingly far-removed news headline,” he adds. This realization shifted my outlook from ‘How can I help?’ to ‘How could I possibly not help?”
This article is part of a series of stories from IB World magazine that bring to life the wonderful initiatives undertaken by IB students and educators from around the globe. Follow these stories on Twitter @IBWorldmag #IBcommunitystories. Do you have a unique and compelling to tell? Share your great stories and experiences: email firstname.lastname@example.org