Service Learning

High school students engage in service learning through the Guardians with a Message (GWAM) program as well as within various service-oriented student club opportunities offered.

Guardians with a Message (GWAM)

How did the GWAM program begin?

The GWAM program started in 2001 when a group of 4 staff and 22 students from ICS-Seoul traveled to Vienna to assist a school with building renovations. In 2004, the school partnered with Habitat for Humanity in Korea and took the first group of students to Kunsan, Korea. The Kunsan trip underscores our desire to have a lasting impact on every place we visit.

Who goes on GWAM trips?

Students in high school in both the NICS and Oasis programs are eligible to apply for GWAM trips and travel with a group of faculty chaperones. Around half of our high school students and over forty staff across the school opt to spend their Spring Breaks serving on a GWAM trip each year.

What is a typical GWAM trip?

GWAM trips take place over Spring Break. Each trip has its own unique set of ministry and service activities, but past examples include:

  • Lead and teach a Vacation Bible School (VBS)
  • Run English camps for students
  • Complete small construction projects
  • Provide hands-on service in the form of cleaning, picking up trash, and painting
  • Feed the hungry and homeless
  • Perform musical and theatrical pieces for groups
  • Play games and sports with children
  • Prayer walk areas and neighborhoods where ministry takes places
  • Engage in cultural activities that directly relate to the local culture
  • Tour and learn about historical sites
When do GWAM teams meet to prepare for the trip?

Beginning each November, GWAM teams meet on Mondays after school from 3:30-4:30 p.m. to work on team building, trip planning, cultural learning, and discipleship. Because these times are vital to a successful trip and team bonding, attendance at these meetings is mandatory.

Where are places GWAM teams serve?

Korea trip locations for 2017 include: Geoje Island, Kunsan, Jeju, & Pyeongtaek. International trip locations include: Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Manila, Philippines; Tacloban, Philippines; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Bangkok, Thailand; Maesai, Thailand

Which organizations do you work with on GWAM trips?

We believe that successful trips begin with key partnerships that last over many years, and thus, care is taken to establish trips that continue year after year. In doing so, we seek to partner with various established organizations in order to assist these groups in the work they currently do. The majority of the organizations we work with are Christian ministries working in local areas. A few of our partner organizations include HISChild in Cambodia, Kids International Ministries (KIM) and Samaritan's Place in the Philippines, and Childlife in Thailand.