Bye bye! (CAS Final Reflection)

As the senior year comes to an end, I would like to reflect on the past two years I’ve dedicated to maintaining a balanced lifestyle by taking the IB. During the first year of IB, I experimented by taking two activities for each CAS component and narrowed it down by the end of that year.

Creativity
➢ COMUN      ➢ Yearbook      ➢ SAISA Art
I feel as though I’ve had the strongest engagement with creativity, I would even incorporate it into service – for example, making a big mural and making posters. Although I began my journey by exploring debate and COMUN for creativity, and to take on an unfamiliar experience and allowed me develop research and speaking skills. Furthermore, COMUN allowed me to engage with issues of global significance directly, especially social and humanitarian issues which interested me.

I didn’t continue onto senior year, mostly because I took on a big commitment to Yearbook, which truly encompassed all learning outcomes from collaborating with other page designers and the community; identifying my strengths and weaknesses in graphic design and how to develop them; and, as editor-in-chief, I also played a big role in planning for the overall yearbook team.

On top of that, I also participated in SAISA Art 2016’s new media workshop. As I continued to make digital art in my free time, this was a good way to extend my experience and take on a new challenge with new resources. Overall, creating a unique piece of artwork during those few days demonstrated my perseverance and ability to experiment with art based upon the theme of justice.

Activity
➢ Scuba Diving      ➢ Yoga      ➢ SAISA Badminton       ➢ Body Conditioning
The two main ways in which I maintained my fitness was through scuba diving and badminton. I achieved a lot during this period, from becoming a certified open water diver in DP1 and making it onto the SAISA badminton team in DP2. Scuba Diving was something completely foreign and therefore a big challenge for me, who definitely wouldn’t consider myself a strong swimmer, but it taught me a lot about being patient with my mistakes and the consequences of my actions, as nowadays we must consider how we treat the ocean and marine life.  Badminton was something I was not very strong in from the beginning, but I am most proud of my progression especially when I didn’t expect to make the team at all. I improved my skills so much during the practice periods and during the actual SAISA, and I would definitely consider it the highlight of my activity activities in CAS. I learned how vital teamwork is in mixed doubles and girls doubles, while growing as a badminton player. 

On the side between these big commitments I also did yoga, body conditioning and fun badminton weekly when these two big activities above were not running, and these can be summarized in their respective posts.

Service
➢ Prison Outreach     ➢ Girls for Girls
Service was also a large part of my CAS experience, as both services were new and posed the same challenges. However, in DP2 when I took up the leadership role in Girls for Girls I definitely developed skills from the previous year such as how to conduct fundraisers and how to engage with global issues – for Prison Outreach, the issue of proper conditions for children living with their imprisoned mothers, and in Girls for Girls, the rehabilitation for young women who have survived sexual abuse. As a founder and leader alongside Ariana for Girls for Girls, this showed my ability to plan and initiate many new activities considering the service AND the Emerge transitional center we were working with were new projects. We communicated as a group often and this was a good example of overcoming previous problems with collaboration, especially because the foundation we worked with were so receptive. I’m most proud that we were able to create a strong foundation for Girls for Girls to continue as a service in the following years through working with all the learning outcomes. 

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Girls for Girls – Graduation & Goodbyes

Our service has planned so much within the span of a few months. Instead of making short individual posts, each of these activities will be succinctly summarized in this one post, as well as my final experience with the service I am proud to hand over leadership and resign from service with Ariana, leaving Girls for Girls in Diana’s capable hands!

Mandalas – Coloring Therapy (March 16th, 2017)
The girls from the center were scheduled for a yoga session at our school. Before this session, we decided to show the girls around our school and of course, have a few snacks and drinks before doing yoga. Eventually, we ended up in the library and we calmly colored for around 30 minutes. They seemed proud of their work and wanted to keep it. I hope that we can continue this in the future because it was a very therapeutic activity that was beneficial for both us and the girls. 

Book Drive – Building a Library (March 23rd, 2017)
This was one of our projects which I was very excited about because it was a good way to raise awareness about our cause and involve others in supporting the girls. I remember during our first meeting with the girls, two girls said that they enjoy reading. This also relates to a local and global issue (LO6) – the difficulty girls have to face to obtain an education. Emerge’s transitional center aims to curb this issue. Therefore, we thought it was vital that they had a small sort of library o the girls can read in their freetime alongside their English classes and other classes.

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Poster credits to Diana – to raise awareness and participation from the OSC community

We had plenty of donations, however not all were appropriate, either in terms of content or English level, but it was a good experience for us to sit down and go through the books and consider these obstacles (LO2). The next step is to get a bookshelf because they do not currently have one, and perhaps invest in more Sinhala books or English-to-Sinhala translated books, accompanied with the English version. It would be good to also curate the bookshelf to have books featuring young female role models. It was hard to do this when most of the books donated were kids’ books.

The Girls’ Graduation (April 6th, 2017)
It broke my heart to see these first batch of girls have to leave the center. This was a totally new experience and we learned so much from each other. Although it might’ve seemed sad for them to leave, the graduation ceremony was filled with positive speeches, dances, singing and even a self-defense demonstration. I realized how much they learned at this center and how valuable it is that we were able to be part of that journey. The whole service, for both Ariana and I, was a demonstration of all the learning outcomes, but most of all we planned and initiated and built this service together (LO3) with a small group of dedicated girls, so I’m extremely proud of what we’ve achieved in only a year. Something like this could only be achieved with pure determination and I know that everyone in the service, including our teacher supervisors Ms. Dahlan and Ms. Kuruppu, truly cares about what we do and why (LO4).  

At the center, we were the first group of young mentors, and they were the first group of mentees. Our whole collaboration with them this year was really themed around the idea of ‘new beginnings’. I’m very glad we were able to share so many memories with them and be a part of their journey.

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OSC Girls for Girls service group in the front row of the graduation ceremony

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Beautiful singing and our murals as a backdrop