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A local community, no matter the size nor its locality, relies on the interaction between individuals. Having volunteered at a retirement home over the past year, I have come to discover the significance of communication between generations in regard to the well-being of society. Over the course of six weeks I have conducted a project that built these relationship and worked towards mutually satisfactory results.

Talking to residents in the care home allowed me to consider ways of contributing to the community. Upon discussing the hobbies of the elderly, it was sad to hear how many people were limited in the activities they could undertake, due to their health. Many residents repeatedly referred to the Gemeindepark and its diminishing beauty. The park’s flora and fauna provide opportunities for walks throughout the day; residents often choose to sit by the pond and watch the ducks while conversing with each other. Unfortunately, the park’s natural beauty is being undermined by the accumulation of rubbish which negatively impacts the well-being of wildlife. Furthermore, the visual pollution associated with litter limits the joy with which people can undertake walks, hence the complaints I hear from the elderly about the ignorance of the youth in regard to the cleanliness of the environment.

Despite not agreeing with the blame entirely lying on the younger generations, I understood how urgent it was to provide clean and safe park which benefited both the local wildlife and people. As a result I decided to create a project involving the collective picking of garbage and the education of the local community. Over the course of six weeks, other students and I collected rubbish in the Gemeindepark and disposed of it accordingly. In the process of cleaning the park, we appealed to members of the community who walked by, in order to inform them of the necessity of keeping the environment clean. Our actions were met with great interest, hence why it was possible to talk to plentyful individuals of different ages who were keen on contributing to society. Having gathered litter for a couple of hours every weekend, it was possible to collect deposits on all the plastic bottles found. The money gained from the litter was used to bring a smile to the face of the elderly at the retirement home. As I attended Christmas dinners at the care home, it was pleasant to notice the happiness with which rare chocolate treats were accepted and consumed on such special occasions. Consequently, I thought it would be nice to surprise the residents with sweets which of course had to be permitted by the care takers first. I used the money from the plastic goods to purchase a wide variety of treats which I placed in a decorated basket and brought to the care home. The residents were delighted by the tasty treats and of course the cleanliness of the park.

Having completed the community project, I hope we were able to spread awareness in regard to the environment and the importance of interacting with other members of the community. It was rewarding to see the appreciation we received from the elderly who I had informed of our project; we as students were able to prove that younger generations are capable of being responsible and caring for the local area and its community.

Alexander Kienast IB13

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17.01.2018 Nelson-Mandela-Schule · Staatliche Internationale Schule Berlin | Nelson Mandela School · State International School Berlin