In keeping with our values as a Friends community, we prepare our students to be successful in today’s global environment, equipping them with 21st-century skills and providing them with opportunities to develop crucial cultural competencies. In particular, our Joint Environmental Mission (JEM) program offers students the opportunity to spend time with peers from other countries and cultures, an experience that is often not available until high school or college.
Through JEM exchanges, our students partner with peers in other countries to better understand environmental issues and to advocate for more environmentally sustainable practices. Some recent experiences include:
In Ecuador, BFS seventh and eighth graders learned from their friends in the Amazon about sustainable agriculture and the effects of the fossil fuels industry on indigenous populations and the rainforest environment.
In Russia, BFS students from grades six, seven, and eight worked with their peers in St. Petersburg to consider the Earth’s “rights” to clean air, clean water, and healthy soil.
During a recent visit to BFS, students from India and Russia learned about regional fracking from a Delaware Valley College professor and toured Philadelphia Water Works. Students led a Model Congress style symposium to further explore the complicated issues surrounding the demand for and conservation of water.
Over the past 26 years, we have run 45 travel exchanges with participation from schools in seven different countries and six continents. Buckingham Friends School students have ventured to India to immerse themselves in the culture while learning about sustainable energy, have spent time with the Maasai tribe in Kenya, and have walked the Great Wall of China. Through the JEM program, we have also helped to fund school education for children in Haiti, and are currently funding schooling for children in Kenya.