On Thursday, April 20th the entire Fort student body participated in the 2017 Global Youth Service Day. The day’s activities were designed to provide an opportunity to “take action,” one of the pillars of global competence at the heart of on-going work at Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies.

Global Youth Service Day began with a whole-school assembly filled with songs from the choir, a performance by the school’s Pacific Islander dance group, and Fort’s inaugural Global Citizen Contest. After a vote by the student body and a panel of community judges, junior Sharon Njoroge was crowned Global Citizen for her character, communication skills, and contributions to the community. The assembly, as well as the day’s activities, were organized by Andrea Johnson, Fort’s Opportunity Coordinator. As Opportunity Coordinator, Johnson organizes community service activities and provides information and support to students regarding travel options that will allow them to investigate the world.

Fort’s Global Youth Service Day activities were held both on and off campus. Off campus activities included visits to Marshall and Peter S. Ogden elementary schools as well as local retirement communities. Students and staff planted over 300 trees along Burnt Bridge Creek and worked at Share House to help organize supplies for hungry and homeless citizens in the Vancouver area. Areas of Park Hill Cemetery were cleaned up by students from Fort’s Medical Arts magnet program and the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site gained newly mended fences thanks to the hard work of many Fort students.

Around the Fort campus, students painted rocks, created cards for veterans and hospital patients, and wrote positive messages around the school using sidewalk chalk. A volleyball tournament and food drive, held in Fort’s gym, brought in over 2,000 pounds of food for the school’s Family Community Resource Center. Elsewhere on campus students in Fort’s Horticulture program contributed to a project involving native bees while others created public service posters and wrote letters thanking others for the positive impact made in their lives. A highlight of the day was a visit by Rojo the Llama from Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas. For a dollar, students could take a photo or get a carrot kiss with Rojo. The funds raised will be donated to the Police Activities League.

Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies is the only school in the Pacific Northwest that is part of Asia Society’s International Studies School Network. Schools in the network focus on developing graduates who are globally aware and engaged citizens. Global Youth Service Day, developed by Youth Changing the World, is the largest service event in the world. Learn more at http://ysa.org/act/programs/gysd/ .