Service at UAS
The Uruguayan American School promotes Service projects throughout the world, in the local community, and inside the school. Service is considered an integral part of the UAS educational experience. The vast varieties of projects that are active at any one time allow students to become a part of a service project that matches their individual interests and abilities. The projects are of diverse scope as helping others here at school, or in trying to change the world for the better. We see value in both projects inside the school and externally, both for school and society, but also for the children to experience and be aware of the need for service projects of all scales.
National Honor Society
Service is one of the key components in NHS, along with Leadership, Character, and Scholarship. The UAS NHS group meet regularly with the NHS advisor to plan their leadership and service opportunities for the school year.
NHS service activities are divided into local service projects and international outreach. Local projects include regular visits to orphanages (hogares) in town, collection of linens and bedding items, and a winter clothing drive for Hogar Maruja Sterling. The International outreach projects for NHS include promoting International Peace Day at UAS, with videos and week-long activities, and supporting educational opportunities like the Association of American School in South America (AASSA) Service Learning Summit.
STUCO is involved with activities related to the school, such as promoting school spirit and building community throughout the diverse UAS student body. It also provides a voice for student concerns. The STUCO does more than promote dances – they promote local community days and school cleanup days where students can work together for a common goal.
Week Without Walls
One of the many choices for our annual UAS Week Without Walls for our high school students is the option to work for a week at the orphanages (hogares) in Montevideo. Students paint and help with minor repairs of the physical structures. One important aspect of this project is the cultural exchange: Sharing ways of life, customs and traditions with the children, and learning from each other. Also, as English speakers, UAS students will have the chance to help the Hogar children learn basic English words and phrases. This is an opportunity to continue the work done by our NHS with these organizations during the whole year.
Other School Projects
The UAS teachers and staff are active in promoting a variety of local, regional, and world-wide projects, and in recruiting the UAS student body to help. The Wish upon a Star program provides Christmas gifts for local youth who would not otherwise receive gifts. The UAS staff was also involved in Charity: Water, a long-term project to provide clean, safe drinking water for families and children in locations in the developing world. Our Charity: Water project focused on bringing clean water to Ethiopia. UAS Recycles is a local recycling effort among the UAS students and their families, to try to lower our environmental footprint/impact.
More recently, UAS has been involved with projects through Students Rebuild, where classes work to secure funding for projects around the world. A couple years ago, UAS participated in Students Rebuild Water Challenge by making 2350 paper beads which helped bring clean water to 117 people in Tanzania. Last year’s challenge was making pinwheels to promote Healing Classrooms, to help Syrian youth from conflict areas recover from crisis and grow into happy, healthy adults.
For a couple years now, we have participated in the yearly International Coastal Cleanup program through the Ocean Conservancy. A group of 45 UAS students, parents, and staff met to clean up the Carrasco beach south of our school. This year, we are organizing to clean up Playa Verde, between Punta Gorda and Carrasco, on Saturday, November 7th.
Recently, we have been making monthly collections in conjunction with the Alegria Foundation, who supports children and young families in orphanages and hospitals. We have provided Alegria with toys for kids in cancer treatment, a variety of personal hygiene items for poor families with young children, and winter coats and blankets to people who need them.
IB Service Component
The International Baccalaureate Program has a core Service component. Each prospective IB student must participate in a service project, an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. These can be as varied as leading the UAS effort in a large global project, to providing tutoring services to individual students. What is important is for the student to come up with a challenging project that enhances their personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning. The hope is that the students will come up with a project plan that shows creativity and action (hence CAS: Creativity, Action, and Service) and the ability to see through a long-term commitment.