Monday, June 6, 2011

Make a Difference Summit

School Overnight Program alums reunited with IslandWood on May 25th at KCTS Studios in Seattle for the annual Make a Difference Summit. Students from JDS, St. Edwards, Bailey Gatzert, Evergreen, Kimball and John Muir elementary schools showed off their continued acts of stewardship as they shared with the group all of the hard work they have done in their communities over the past few weeks and months.

Planting gardens was just one of the many impressive and awe-inspiring projects presented by JDS
After a warm welcome from John Haskin - IW's Director of Education, KCTS' Community Outreach Coordinator Tony Gomez, and State Farm's (a company whose generous donations made the event possible!) Nancy Carpenter, JDS were the first school to share their work. We were captivated by the persuasive essays they wrote to different businesses and organizations, the incredible fundraising projects they overtook, and the support they showed for local animal shelters and food shelters.

Students wait for their moment to shine at the amazing KCTS Studios
St. Edwards shared the work they put into their school's garden (IW Grad '11 Laura Goff was there to help!), the story of beginning family-style dining in their lunch room, and presented some top notch research on what kind of water system would be best for their garden. Ask St. Edwards if PVC, copper, or galvanized pipes work best!

St. Edwards students can tell you ANYTHING you need to know about water systems! 
John Muir dressed up for the big day - and they looked great! We were so excited to hear about the strenuous ivy pulling they did at Seward Park with the Mountaineering Club of Seattle. John Muir students became ivy experts and made a difference in ridding the area of this invasive!

Ever so professional, John Muir shares their struggle and success with English ivy
Randy Komatsu, IW's School Partnerships Coordinator, was an incredible host and left the kids with a story that paints a brilliant picture of the value of these students' work: 

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.
He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realise that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

"It made a difference for that one."
Thanks to all the students for their lasting stewardship and the differences they continue to make in their communities.

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