Contributed by Mary Chuy, Local Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator, ILSC-New York
One day, while exchanging some new ideas with a couple of students, I realized that my position as Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator at ILSC-New York offered us an open window to explore new ground. That’s how we started the V. Team, which stands for Volunteer Team. I shared the general idea with some students, and suddenly I had several of them having regular meetings in my office every Wednesday. They have so much potential, so many unbelievable talents to share and, most importantly, they are willing to work together and learn from each other.
We started with a series of workshops that I designed to start some debate about leadership, engagement, communication skills (what to do when advanced students need to speak with beginners), among other things. Unlike in an official ILSC class, we don’t focus our group on English levels or academics, but mostly on bringing our own personalities, professional skills and abilities to the school and activities, to make this place a better one for everyone. I’m proud of the team we’ve managed to put together.
We feel we have started a movement, and we call it “Our V. Team”, because we are all equals when we meet, with identical chances to express our ideas and, as Derek Sivers explains in his TED talk, a movement is not about the leader, who takes the risk to stand out and be ridiculed; but about the followers, who show everybody else what to do and how to follow.
So I turn to the rest of the V. Team to help share what the V. Team is all about.
Keli: “The V. Team is a chance to learn about the school, and to help students with inquiries. It’s also a way to bring new ideas and projects to the school. I’m really happy to be part of the team.”
Otniel: “To me, the V. Team is a group formed by talented students who can express their thoughts about how to make the school a better environment for all the students. Personally, the V. Team gives me the opportunity to learn more about the school, and it allows me to gain more confidence when I communicate in English with others. This group is also open to listen to other students’ opinions, so we can understand their needs and make the school a better place for all of us.”
Nat: “The V. Team is a place where I can practice my English skills and learn new things. It is also a place to ask questions and get the answers I need. We learn and practice about team work, and skills I never studied before, like marketing for example. Here, everyone has a specific talent, and we can learn from each other.”
Gaku: “The V. Team represents my eagerness to mingle with the members and make visual elements to support the team.”
Yulee: “The V. Team is a new turning point for me. When I arrived, my routine was going from home to school and vice versa, only hanging out with my old friends. However, the V. Team gives me the opportunity to meet people who have been here for a while, definitely new friends. We are learning how to present topics we are interested in, and I think it’s a great experience to show others what we like.”
I can’t but thank Keli (Brazil), Otniel (Mexico), Nat (Thailand), Gaku (Japan), Yulee (South Korea), Prince (China) and Wan (Thailand) for believing in this project, and taking their awesomeness to a whole new level.
If you’re thinking about coming to ILSC-New York, be sure to ask about the opportunity to share your talents, ideas and inspirations as part of Our V. Team.