Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy. – Gandhi
The IB promotes bettering both the lives of its students and its greater world community through many ways, but in particular the core requirement of creativity, action and service. Each diploma candidate must complete a set number of CAS hours to meet the requirement, the amount translating to a rough equivalent of spending three hours per week throughout the two year programme.
Many IB students see CAS as an extension of service activities in which they are already involved, while some dive headfirst into new projects.
Natasha from Australia said of her CAS experience:
I started my high school division of Roots&Shoots, an organization that promotes care and concern for the environment, animals and the local community. Through this programme we were able to raise money for a local community member whose young daughter had been diagnosed with cancer. Furthermore, we ‘opened our back-packs’ for Pakistan and sent over school supplies after the devastating 2006 earthquake… CAS allowed me to experience new adventures and taught me how to express myself in different ways and develop new interests. Today – I have founded and coordinate a mentoring programme called ‘To Help, To Grow.’ This programme allows university students to mentor primary school students with learning difficulties and disabilities, as well as children from under-advantaged homes, in order to inspire and promote personal growth.
Susan, of Canada, had this to say:
I did several CAS projects including involvement in environmental stewardship programs, theatre programs, dance lessons, youth parliament, and volunteering at the city’s art museum. Many of these activities I had already been involved in before I joined IB and it was great to know that there is a program that encouraged extra-curricular learning opportunities. I still do many of these activities today. This requirement, IB validated the importance of participation in creative, active and service projects in a young person’s learning and growth, which is my learning philosophy today.
Aly, also from Canada, shared this:
My CAS project entailed various forms of community service and outreach programs, including, but not limited to, working with mentally challenged individuals at a ‘group home’ working on arts and crafts and volunteering at a law firm geared toward the underprivileged. I took a lot away from these activities, especially the fact that community service is a duty for those who are privileged and that intellectual capacity should be used to aid those who are at a detriment in our society. I continue to work with the mentally challenged, both at the group home and in pharmacy practice and I believe this has informed my career choices and decisions… I believe CAS has not only given me a passion for community service in showing me its importance, but also given me the communication and interpersonal skills needed to pursue such undertakings on a larger scale.
We’re grateful to Natasha, Susan and Aly for their contributions not only to the IB in terms of sharing their stories, but also for their contributions to society in enacting these service projects.
What were your CAS projects? Have you maintained working in the same or new areas as those with which you previously volunteered? Do you have an interesting story to share regarding your CAS experience? Please share!