iArtsTech Foundation was founded to help expose students to technology and digital art early in their lives. Throughout the year, they have hosted numerous fundraisers and a technology drive to raise money for their service trip to Bengbu, Anhui, China. The September SIA Jefferson Award for excellence in youth leadership in public service is awarded to iArtsTech Foundation.
Description of Project
From June 14 to June 28, 2018, iArtsTech traveled to Bengbu, Anhui, China to teach middle school students at both a public and private school. At the public school, they taught the top students at the school how to make digital art on iPads. At the private school, the team presented a powerpoint about American culture and taught them English. As part of the cultural exchange, the students also presented a powerpoint about their culture and language.
The cultural exchange helped alleviate a lot of the stress they had from finals. Additionally, even though the school’s principals did not think learning about art would influence them in a positive way, the students learned the benefits of having a well-rounded life with both academics and extracurriculars/hobbies. A lot of the students were really surprised and intrigued by the tools they could use to produce digital art.
Inspiration for Project
They were inspired to plan this service trip after a trip Natalie and Nancy went on with a different organization, but wanted to find a more organized trip that reached different communities. After Nancy and her mom visited the village in China, they communicated with the village mayor to coordinate logistics, such as lodging at the school’s dorms.
Some of the difficulties they encountered included communication because they had to stay in constant contact with the mayor and had spotty service. However, they overcame it by using WeChat.
Advice to Students Interested in Planning a Service Trip
Constantly meet throughout the year to finalize logistics
Make sure you prepare all documents ahead of time and apply for your visa.
Travel insurance that covered medical needs, baggage, etc. was extremely beneficial for us.
Have fundraisers throughout the year to help subsidize cost and to go towards your cause.
Be able to adapt to different circumstances.
To learn more about this project, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/iArtsTech/ or their website, https://iartstechfoundation.org/.