Recently, students from İDV Özel Bilkent Middle School spent a full day visiting each of two other middle schools in Ankara, where they led a program of arts-and-crafts activities for their peers. The visits were supported by a grant from the Alumni Grants Program of the US Embassy, awarded to the Bilkent Middle School and its partner CATH (Children Are the Hope), a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting children across linguistic, geographic and similar barriers.
Based in the US state of Wisconsin, CATH is currently facilitating student connections and artistic exchanges in Wisconsin, Turkey, Cuba and Rwanda. Over the past three years, CATH and İDV Özel Bilkent Middle School have partnered to bring cultural exploration, environmental education and art experiences to classrooms in both Turkey and the US. The grant for the recent school visits was the second the partnership has received from the Alumni Grants Program.
The full-day event was planned by the Bilkent Middle School principal, the Middle Years Program coordinator, and two teachers; a team of 10 students helped lead the program, which took place on separate days at Pursaklar Karacaören and Mamak Sibel İsmet Çatık Middle Schools in Ankara. Ersin Dur, representing the US Embassy in Ankara, and Victoria O’Connell, the Embassy’s assistant cultural affairs officer, joined the group for the Karacaören visit.
Throughout the day, the student team from the Bilkent school engaged their peers in activities such as origami crane folding, face painting, paper plate art and the painting of a wall-sized canvas.
Also in conjunction with the program, the İDV Özel Bilkent Middle School’s Parents Association established a library at Sibel İsmet Çatık Middle School and donated boots and coats for students in need.