Michael Hayes
SOS Children's Villages SEAVER Project

Ethan Scott ’21 and Ava Block ’21 were able to secure a $1,000 donation to SOS Children's Village in Florida as part of their SEAVER Project. (Not picture: George Kessler ’21)

A non-profit organization in Florida will benefit from the work of three Berkshire students.

SOS Children’s Villages in Coconut Creek recently received a $1,000 donation from the Robert Jensen Dau Foundation on behalf of Berkshire School. The award was graciously given by the foundation after students Ava Block ’21, Ethan Scott ’21, and George Kessler ’21 highlighted the work of SOS Children's Villages during their SEAVER Projects in the spring of 2019.

SEAVER, which is a nod to Berkshire School founder Seaver Buck, is an acronym for: Synergy, Educate, Analysis, In-Vent, Evaluate, and Reveal. Throughout the year, all fourth form English students research and develop a plan to create a product or service in order to help a community of their choice. The SEAVER model is also interdisciplinary, providing students the opportunity to experience their project through the lens of history or literature.

Kessler said reading "The White Tiger" by author Aravind Adiga in Mrs. Bullock’s English class informed the students about class struggles in India, where children are often abandoned for financial reasons. Inspired by the novel, Kessler and his classmates turned to SOS, the largest non-governmental organization dedicated to the long-term care of orphaned and abandoned children around the world.

“It took me until the researching phase of the SEAVER project to even grasp how difficult it is for some people to live in this world,” said Kessler. “The level of poverty and misogyny within parts of India is alarmingly high. It’s difficult for me to even grasp that this environment exists all over the world.” 

While Kessler and his classmates initially proposed the idea of raising funds for the organization’s efforts in India, the students ultimately decided to reach out to the non-profit organization’s branch in Florida, which provides resources to about 75 children in foster care. According to the company, the funds will be used to provide services including academic tutoring, daily meals, and even items as simple as birthday cakes.

Bullock, who has inspired students to think outside of the box through SEAVER, said the curriculum was created to have an authentic outcome.

“Students learn and engage more when their work is real. Reading about hardships in India is abstract but creating a solution and making an actual difference is empowering,” Bullock said.

Click here to read more about SOS Children’s Villages.