Community Involvement Projects (CIPs), which are normally held in-person, were transformed to online activities in the spring with the onset of the pandemic. Although many face-to-face projects were postponed, RC students understood that engagement with communities was needed more than ever during the pandemic. From March to mid-August, RC students lent their support through seven online projects.
The Sports and Healthy Life CIP helped participants build healthier eating and lifestyle habits, and included a workout in English for students to practice their language skills in a fun way.
The BU Paws CIP participants were not able to visit the animals at the shelter at Boğaziçi University, so they developed content for the organization’s website including videos on topics such as first aid for injured animal and communication with animals.
A project supporting 8th grade students who were preparing for the Turkish high school entrance exam (LGS), helped more students than initially planned when it moved online. The project team was able to work with students from several schools around Istanbul, helping them to prepare mentally as well as academically for the exam. Another project providing exam support was the AP Mentoring CIP, which provided peer mentoring and support for AP exams.
RC students have been working for many years with Samsun ZİÇEV, a non-profit that provides educational support and rehabilitation to children and young adults with special needs. When the project could not be held face to face, the team prepared a series of videos that ZİÇEV teachers can use to supplement their regular programs, while also keeping RC students connected with the kids at ZİÇEV.
A team of RC students collected experiences of the pandemic from youth from around the world. The content is being shared through an online magazine. Another group of students supported the online learning community Khan Academy by translating nearly 80,000 words of content to Turkish for the website.
Students and advisors are taking what they learned from holding these projects online and applying it to upcoming projects. They also found that although they are able to have a better connection with participants when the project is in-person, by holding projects online RC students are able to reach schools, students, organizations and communities that normally cannot be reached due to logistical or other barriers.
Before the school year gets fully underway, RC students are facilitating two online projects with partner organizations in Istanbul. Since the end of August, RC students have been meeting online with Syrian kids aged 10-12 from the Small Projects NGO for an hour each Sunday to facilitate art and science activities. The kids were all sent a “CIP in a Box” project kit with all the materials needed to complete the projects. We have also started facilitating an online English Tutoring CIPon Tuesdays and Fridays after school with 5th and 7th graders from the Atlas Derneği. We look forward to starting up more online projects in October and beyond!