March – a Month of Charity for Interact Club Sofia International at the Meridian 22 English High School

The month of March passed under the sign of charity for the students from Meridian 22 English High School – members of the Interact Club Sofia International. Under the motto “Donate a spark of joy”, on the initiative of the Club, on 29 March 2010 the comedy “Crazy Love” was performed at the Theater “Sofia”. It was a fund-raising performance for the elderly from the Darvenitsa Retirement Home in Sofia. That was possible thanks to the activity of the young people who contacted the management of the “Sparkles & Seasons” Theater and sold tickets for the play. Transportation to and from the theater was provided for the elderly so that they could enjoy their encounter with art and escape from everyday life for a few hours.

The Meridian 22 concert on March 30, 2010, was also focused on charity – fund-raising for medical aid for blind children. The enthusiastic participants – from the youngest pupils to the high school students from 8th, 9th and 10th grade of the Meridian 22 School worked together to put on a show of folk and modern songs and dances, ballet and classical guitar performances. The guests of the school – the students from Wildwood School, joined the show proving that language, music and dance connect people and launch new friendships in the name of a common cause.

The school community of Meridian 22 is still under the influence of the exciting experiences during the ten-day visit of the group from Wildwood School, Los Angeles, USA. The main objective of the exchange program project of the Meridian 22 High School is to help homes for socially disadvantaged children. Wildwood School is a school where children of famous Hollywood personalities study but the values of its students are admirable and impressive – they possess the spirit of compassion towards the poor and underprivileged, they learn how to be humane, give joy and, through their labor, support talent and commitment.

It is understood that one can and one should help; that helping others enriches us, and this is what unites students from IB World School “Meridian 22” with their peers overseas. The Diploma Program of the International Baccalaureate with its core subject “Creativity, Action and Service” as a mandatory element of the academic studies, helps form this attitude of the young people towards those in need. That is why, after a 15-hour flight, the American and Meridian 22 students dedicated the next few days to the “Denitsa” Children’s Home in Sofia.

The building brightened up with the new multicolored paintings made by the older students on the window glass of the rooms and the hall. The joy of the children, embraced by their guests’ love and care, was amazing. They painted with them, learned English songs, played games, danced and painted t-shirts. When the children went to sleep, the students cleaned and freshened up the play-ground, painted the swings and the climbing frames, planted flowers.

The next five days – from April 1st to April 5th – the group spent some time at the Bella Terra Complex near Dryanovo. The complex was the starting point for many interesting trips =-the Dryanovo Monastery, the Bacho Kiro Cave, the towns of Tryavna, Bozhentsi, Gabrovo, the Etara museum.

Our American friends were fascinated by the beauty of Bulgarian nature, they learned much about the cultural and historical heritage of the region, our different Easter traditions, and they watched the spectacular show “Lights and Sounds” played out on
one of the hills overlooking the town of Veliko Tarnovo.

However, entertainment was only part of the program. The focus was on the charitable work, which was the main reason for their trip in the country. The children from the Home in Gabrovo were expecting them. The Easter holidays were devoted to the children of the Home and the decoration of their building. The orphans and the students enjoyed themselves and experienced some wonderful moments – they sang songs, played football and basketball in the yard, painted on glass, prepared photo-albums and handmade jewelry which they gave each other as souvenirs, along with balls and other sporting equipment and devices specially purchased for the occasion and brought from the US.

The smiles of the children from the Denitsa Home in Sofia and the Gabrovo Orphanage were countless; the young people’s satisfaction was great; farewells were full of promises for more meetings next year. These ten days are only the beginning of the international cooperation between Wildwood School and Meridian 22 English Language High School. We are getting ready for our visit to Los Angeles in the fall and Wildwood School is now working on a permanent social program that will include our students. And we are expecting our American friends again next spring!

Radka Stamenova
Rotary Club Sofia International

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