Service Leader: Hope for Kids 2021-2022

Service Leader + Christmas / New Years Project

Sometime towards the end of last year I was notified that the position for service leader in Hope for Kids was opening up, since one of our previous leaders, Kenji, graduated. I had been a part of this service group dedicatedly for 3 years and I had tried to make the most of my contributions to the group itself in my time there. At the start of this year, I was elated to receive an e-mail initiating me as a service leader alongside my classmate Saesha. This had been a longtime commitment of mine with a cause that I was extremely passionate about contributing to, and I had also come with the added experience of knowing the trials and tribulations of trying to function in a service group in the midst of a pandemic. The e-mail that reached out to us also let us know that we were going to try and do our yearly Christmas present drive again this year, and that we had to perhaps reach out and go shopping with last year’s bake sale & donation funds to get the children gifts this year, but sadly this plan was halted as two of the patients at the home ended up getting COVID. And like I’ve said time and time again, our number one priority is ensuring the health of the children that we work with, so we were in mutual agreement under restrictions from the CCC house that we would be postponing the event.

However, after having an initial meeting with my service supervisor, Ms. Tanuja, we decided that we could still attempt to maintain the Christmas cheer, by creating a talent show for them and by doing a toy drive in early January in time for new year, and thus, Saesha and I were tasked with reaching out to the IT department and various members of the OSC staff to see if they were willing to put something small together for the patients at the CCC home. We also created a sign up sheet for student performers and are currently waiting for that to be filled up, although I must say, we already have a great variety of performances coming in from the staff members who were more than willing to participate which is very touching to see.

In the upcoming year, I look foreword to taking more of a leadership role in our service group and hopefully carrying it through another highly successful year once we are able to meet again! Oh and before I sign off, after some convincing we also decided that we would be lowering the age limit so that we could increase the manpower when we are not visiting the home 🙂



Service Post – Hope for Kids

Hope For Kids Update!

While a lot has changed in the past few weeks from completing online school, to going back face to face for  only to be thrust back into a blindsiding state of  lockdown again, my service group, Hope For Kids has never let ourselves see a dull moment. Instead of complaining about the revocation of our visitation rights to the home (because of safety precautions) we have been spending even more hours working at various projects that had us sacrificing a few lunch hours, Thursday afternoons and other weekdays after school hours to make it all come together.

I feel as though our group has honestly accomplished more this year than I would have ever assumed we would have been able to complete given our inconvenient circumstances, although somehow, in a strange way, I have come to realize that it has given me a one off opportunity to step up to the plate  to genuinely make a contribution to the cause we work to support and to do more than physically spend time with the young cancer patients like we used to do when Covid was not an issue. Even more excitingly, it has given me a perfect opportunity to step up into taking some initiative in the leadership area.

Many changes were made starting with some basic housekeeping at first. We decided that it was high time we made some updates to some of our archives. Namely, we needed to change the outdated logo which I took upon myself to redo which required me to employ my creativity. While the original logo was simply just an image of a handprint, I felt that it didn’t really show all that much relevance to our cause which is why, after doing some research I found out that the color for child cancer was gold and then decided to make a simple but striking logo which said OSC Hope for Kids at the top with a gold cancer ribbon on a contrasting black background.

Additionally we decided that we needed to make our outreach greater in terms of raising awareness as a service group. We already had a website but it was rather incomplete in terms of the aesthetic value of it which is why I spent majority of our last session trying to help one of my make the necessary changes to the website via Zoom. Naturally this was a lot harder than expected since it was online and also because the previous creators of our website had graduated, hence making it a work in progress for the upcoming weeks.

We also decided to create an Instagram page in order to keep our school community updated on recent happenings within our group as well as it being the perfect opportunity for us to raise some awareness regarding the severity of the issue that is child cancer. During the first few weeks, while others made certain informational posts, I took the time to create a quiz to educate our followers. Using Instagram formatting I was able to post a small informal multiple choice trivia game on our stories to which a pleasantly surprising number of our followers answered.

While the participation was great, it did go to show that quite a few people within our school community were still not all that aware of the statistics or prevalence of childhood cancer, which is why  I have been in talks with Ms. Tanuja (our service teacher), Saesha (the other service leader) and a family friend of mine who has worked closely with the Cancer Hospital for the past few weeks. More specifically, we collectively came to a conclusion that it was important to make people, especially within our school community,  understand the reality of the situation as well as how we can help patients as well as help prevent it so I took it upon myself to reach out to a doctor to get in touch with us and perhaps give us a small virtual session on what I mentioned earlier. In this way we could also record it and share it via our social media while also coming up with more effective fundraising plans. However, there is still somewhat of a difficulty in getting in touch with a doctor during this time because of the peaking of the Covid-19 cases within the country which has left first responders in a bit of a time crunch which we have to be understanding about.  Nonetheless, she has promised to reach out to us the moment her workload diminishes so that we can carry out our meeting.

This has been a great opportunity for me to step up as a leader and also a great reflective period to upgrade and improve what we already had while also being a convenient time for us to plan ahead for the future and next year and the fundraisers we could be carrying out then!

^My story awareness project for our Instagram followers

^ The new Hope for Kids logo, which I designed earlier this year

^ Previous Hope for Kids logo

Hope For Kids – Looking Forward During the Pandemic

Hope for Kids – A Virtual Christmas

The 12th of November rang in the first ever group meeting for the Hope for Kids service group for the 2020-21 academic year. While it was carried out under rather unusual circumstances considering that we were met on Zoom, it covered a very detailed itinerary of what we had to plan and carry out for the remainder of the semester.

This year, marks my second consecutive year as a member of this service and I am beyond excited to see what this year has in store for us. Moreover, I plan on it being a long time project of mine since I got rather invested in it since my debut in Hope for Kids last year!! (LO4)

In terms of what we do as the Hope For Kids service group, we spend most Thursday afternoons, (under non-pandemic circumstances) at the CCC Cancer House in Maharagama, engaging with the younger cancer patients and their parents at the home with hopes of brightening up their week in whichever way we see fit. Our time there is well spent and we find ourselves engaging in activities ranging from creating sock puppets, to buying the kids new toys and resources and taking part in things as simple as playing catch – all of which is rewarded by eager smiling faces which makes everything all the more, worth it. (LO6)

Unfortunately for us, this session, we learned that we would not be allowed to visit the home in person for the remainder of the year, which is understandable seeing as the children have weaker immune systems than we do and it would be too much of a risk to come into direct contact with them at this stage after being exposed to a pandemic environment. (LO7)

Luckily, we were able to come to a happy conclusion, that this wouldn’t be stopping us from continuing to do what we intend to do for our friends at the CCC home.

To help us out in terms of organization, we first created a planner with a list of actions we CAN take despite the restrictions of the pandemic. The ideas ranged from creating a social media page to raise awareness, to conducting food drives and fundraisers and our foremost endeavor which was to take on a small craft session in groups in order to help bring about the festive spirit at the home.

Traditionally, we would have met with the kids in person, taken our art supplies and helped them create Christmas related ornaments and crafts of their choice, but this year, we have decided to bring them our rendition of a virtual Christmas celebration! We came up with the idea of creating ornaments and other Christmas decorations, recording tutorial videos in the process which we could then upload to a Google Drive for them to access and follow from the safety of the home. I also supplied the idea that we could try and use Zoom calls to engage with them on a more personal level in case they needed more assistance which the the videos themselves can’t provide. (LO3)

This led to another excited discussion about what we could to to make this pandemic Christmas as spirited as we could despite our circumstances and we decided we could go virtual caroling as well! As a final course of action, we planned on buying them gifts; same as every year, and having it sanitized and delivered to the home along with some other rations and our art supplies which they can use on our Thursday sessions.

After splitting up into groups, I decided to work with Anya and Ashvini on paper decorations. Initially, we planned on physically making them and cutting them out i.e. making literal decorations but we realized that it would be difficult for the kids to re-create without any assistance. Plus, the creation process was rather complex and it required a lot of materials we didn’t have, so taking that and their age groups into consideration, I offered an idea which was to source different designs from the internet i.e. printable cutouts of stars, circle ornaments, candy canes, angels etc. for them to print directly and color. This way, there would be reduced chances of contamination, we had a larger variety of designs and the parents could get involved and help cutout the designs and the children could draw and color on them. (LO5)

This activity is rather simple but also very considerate understanding that many of the children are often very fatigued by chemotherapy and are unable to complete high energy requiring activities. (LO7)

Ideally, by next week we should have roughly 6 designs sourced (each) and our next steps will be to make the video tutorial which Anya will record and Ashvini and I will add voiceovers to in order to reduce the language barrier since most kids can only speak Sinhala.


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