Prison Outreach – Introduction & Bake Sale

I joined a new service group this year, in hopes of aiding in establishing foundation and really exploring the lives of not only women in Sri Lankan prison and the psychological and physical effects on them, but also their children. Children born behind bars by these imprisoned mothers only leave when they turn 5 years old. The prison officials said the children are in need of many supplies and materials to improve their physical conditions. 

We started to plan two ways to tackle this firstly, a fundraiser, where the money will be used to buy the supplies; and secondly, a donation drive in which we will collect items from people’s homes that are commonly found & in good condition. 

Planning for the bake sale did not go perfect the first time; we had to change the date from Wednesday 16th to Wednesday 23rd because it was too short notice and wasn’t advertised enough. After the meeting on the 17th, it was finalized. Everyone had something to contribute and we decided on appropriate amounts and prices. 

I gladly accepted being promptly put in charge of creating posters, making the logo and most of the creative elements of the service group. I created two posters already for the two ways above (donation drive, bake sale). We found that the best way to approach the bake sale is to add some way that people can engage and learn more about the service, leading us to the idea of “making a wish” for the children. 

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The bake sale was extremely successful and we worked well as a team to sell the variety of goods. In total we managed to raise a total of 11 000 LKR, which is an amazing amount for our first bake sale! All of the cupcakes and waffles and half of the cookies were sold, but because we had sold such a variety of foods (both savory and sweet) we didn’t manage to finish selling the fries or popcorn. Nevertheless, it was good to learn what was popular to sell at school. 

   

I think an element we could’ve developed was the intellectual/creative engaging component, i.e. getting the customers to write a wish or draw something for the children so they have more awareness of where their money is going to. However, due to the conditions of the place we decided to sell this was too inconvenient. Everyone was waiting quite a long time in the hot & humid cafeteria while standing, and there was no space to write with the food occupying much of the space.

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 Hopefully through the donation drive we can raise awareness and engage people intellectually and creatively. It is one of our long term projects and people will have to think about what they bring/donate to the children. Soon we will invest in going on a trip together to buy the supplies with the money we earned. 

 

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IB DP1 Orientation Trip – Borderlands (Sept. 2-4, 2015)

On September 2nd to September 4th, the whole of DP1 along with several teachers, went on a 3 day trip to Kithugala. We stayed at the Borderlands camp and were led along by Borderlands staff! The activities were somewhat strategically organized to address the components of CAS through the activities throughout 3 days. I had very little idea of what to expect for this experience because I wasn’t here for Week Without Walls (WWW) in Grade 9, so I went in with just the expectation that we would all become closer and I would learn something about myself. Unfortunately I didn’t bring a camera or my phone to take pictures, so all of the pictures are courtesy of Mr. Lockwood (thank you!) unless stated otherwise. 

Day 1: Taking The Plunge (Action)

whitewater rafting: break

whitewater rafting: break

On this day, we arrived in Kithulgala and immediately got ready to go whitewater rafting. This day’s schedule was very Activity based. My rafting teammates were Maya, Mohamed, Amasha, Olav, Shivangi, Ms. Niedermann and the instructor, Candy. Candy’s guidance was so useful to understand the importance of teamwork – we had to synchronize our movements according to his commands to get through the rapids properly. Everyone was supportive of each other. Even though it was activity, it was nothing too strenuous; instead I found it to be very enjoyable and because of that, I tried to raft with confidence. This was nothing but a really positive experience for me; I love the feeling of being on the river. Floating to camp was also such an unforgettable moment after the white-water rafting because it made me feel calm and more aware of my surroundings.

canyoning: one of the big jumps

When we ate lunch and went for canyoning, I knew the things we had to do would involve some risk and pushing of my own limits. Although I did have difficulty in going the extra mile, like doing a front flip as I jumped, I was mostly proud because reflecting on myself and the person I was maybe 2 or 3 years ago, I would never think to take any of these leap of faiths.

Day 2: In The Cave (Critical Thinking)

The second day was packed with both activity and getting to know the cultural side of the trip by hiking up to a cave where we learned about its heritage and created some of our art of our own, based on the natural art that we had seen in TOK. When we got to the cave, we had a silent, meditation time, which really relieved me after the hike. Then we split into groups where we created art of our own; I was in a group with Anjulie, Shloak, Charlie and Kai. I drew a sketch of how our art not only symbolized our dire journey to the cave, but also the trials we must face in the journey of the IB in order to reap reward:

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“Labyrinth” natural artwork (my own sketch)

It was interesting to see the concepts people came up with as well and their justifications for why it is art. Afterwards, we went abseiling, which I was a little afraid of; I had never done it before. After battling some leeches on the hike up, I was one of the first few to abseil first. It was very, very difficult for me to do it properly, I ended up getting hit by the waterfall many times and losing my balance, falling against the waterfall which led to my panic. However by the time I got to the bottom and pushed myself to make it to the end, I still didn’t feel scared. I just wanted to try again, learn from my mistakes and do a better job. I hope I get another chance to abseil in the future, because that was one of the biggest challenges of the trip for me.

Day 3: Water Narratives (Service)

Today was our last day at the camp, where we conducted the service portion of the trip. We went to interview the local community and found out not only about their experiences with the river but how important it was to them. My group mates included Jamaal, Amira, Charlie, Kai and Ms. Lenk. We went to interview an employee of another rafting company. With Jamaal’s translation we learned so much about how rafting was such an important and central part of the rafters’ lives, and how he grew up in the river, wanted to continue this business and held such a deep passion for his work. We even considered the situation of the dam being built and how that would affect him as well as the whole community. I found his connection to his community very touching because although I do move from continent to continent often, the feeling of home is something is almost indescribable and changes from person to person. I’m glad we were able to share our stories at the end of the day at the longhouse and receive our certificate of completion! 

The trip not only allowed me to build my teamwork and communication, but I found myself taking risks and it broadened my horizons because of the interaction with the local community. Our grade was able to share a great experience together through the orientation. It’s just the beginning of 2 years in the IB to come!

DP1 IB CAS Goals

Welcome to my CAS blog! This post marks the beginning of my journey in the IB.

My CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) Goals, Sept. 8, 2015

Creativity
This year, I’m participating in yearbook, MUN, and (hopefully) looking to continue digital art and traditional painting. I have yearbook experience from my previous school even though I did not join yearbook last year. This time I would like to improve my graphic design and experiment with the yearbook team. MUN is an activity out of my comfort zone; although I like to engage myself in global issues, I have severe stage fright and lack of public speaking skills. With my involvement in MUN I will learn to combat this. This is my more prominent commitment in the creativity area. Otherwise, in a more relaxed environment, I am continuing self-taught digital art and painting, something I have been doing seriously for a good 7 years. Since I am not taking Visual Arts as a IB course, I think it’s important I still pursue art as a hobby. I could join the art club to aid me as well.

Activity
My Activity activities are a work in progress. For the future, I would like to participate in badminton and scuba diving. Previously I had joined badminton, therefore by continuing to work on my badminton I can evaluate my progress from last year. I hope to learn how to play more competitively by developing and strengthening certain skills and my own general determination. Scuba sparked my interested after I visited the ocean near my father’s hometown in Malaysia. It seems demanding in terms of commitment, swimming skill and knowledge, yet I’m willing to take the challenge in order to explore the oceans of Sri Lanka and try something completely new.

Service
I joined a brand new service group for the next year, currently called Prison Babies. It’s a service dedicated to aiding imprisoned women and their children that are born behind bars. Not only will we care for their children, we’re looking towards generally improving their prison lives; in the long run, we’ll learn how to teach necessary life skills to the women in order to ease their transition when they are released out of prison. By working in this service, I hope I can understand the problems that women in prison face, while making a positive impact on their lives. I believe this service will allow me to become more open-minded by being exposed to conditions I am unfamiliar with. Personally, the communication and thinking involved might pose a challenge, especially as a new group of people in a brand new service. However, I hope I can contribute my fullest in planning and working collaboratively beforehand in order to establish a good foundation for the group.