Ismael Karim spends time at his local community center helping kids with their homework. Many of them attend KIPP Inspire Academy in Carr Square and often talk about the support they receive at school through The Little Bit Foundation. When it came time for his school, Saint Louis University High School (SLUH), to select a beneficiary for their annual, student-led Mission Week in February, Karim knew the name he wanted to put in the hat.
“I’ve heard so much from my neighbors about Little Bit and the mission really resonates with me,” says the SLUH junior who was recently elected Vice President of Student Council, organizers of Mission Week. Karim immigrated to the U.S. with his family and says the resources of SLUH have meant a lot to him. “Not everyone has a support network to lean on, and especially during COVID, we couldn’t imagine how students who go to schools that can’t do what SLUH does were dealing with everything. When I presented Little Bit to my fellow StuCo members, they were all on board.”
Karim says the week’s activities were designed to engage students both in school and after and offer a wide range of options. Essentially, students paid a fee to dress down and/or participate in a number of activities, including yoga, chess, Super Smash Bros., a ping pong tournament, Open Mic Night, fish fry, basketball game between the Student Council and newspaper staff, and more. Students also donated school supplies and hygiene products throughout the week. At the end, the student body had raised $12,000 and collected 1,658 essential items for Little Bit!
More impactful, says Karim, through learning sessions during the week, many students came away with a better understanding of not just Little Bit but the population served. “There was real reflection on the things we may take for granted and how each of us can have a role in leveling the playing field for all students.”