As you all likely know at this point, S is the portion of the IB CAS experience that stands for Service! Honestly, I think this part of your CAS experience can be the hardest to be consistent with, especially if your school does not have any service clubs to help you out. If your school does have service-based clubs and you’re just not in them, JOIN. I have been a member of Key Club (shoutout to all of my Key Clubbers) since freshman year, and it is a club in which I have made the most friends and connections with my community. You can also look into clubs like Be A Leader or Interact. These clubs are often national or international, so they are backed by a big parent organization. Key Club, for example, is backed by Kiwanis. Also, I know for Key Club at least, there are more clubs before and after high school so you can still work under Kiwanis. In college, you can join Circle K, and elementary students can be a part of Builders’ Club. And, of course, you can join Kiwanis as an adult and continue to serve.
Even if you do not want to join a service club (which I very highly recommend because it makes completing this part of CAS so much simpler), you still have to complete your S portion to receive credit for CAS. So, here are some ideas that I have seen done or dreamed of doing for you to serve your school, community, or even the world.
Clean-Up: Y’all, Earth Day is a week away! One of the best ways you can serve your community is by cleaning up trash around your neighborhood. Everywhere you go, there is going to be litter, and all that trash is bound to harm the animals or plant life around you. Besides, no one likes to see trash around their home or business. Get together a big group (maybe all the Diploma students in your grade?) and choose a day a week that you go out and clean up the area. Just a couple hours a week can make an amazing difference- and save the planet!
Tutor: Considering you are enrolled in one of the most difficult academic programs in the world, I am going to assume that you are competent in at least one subject- enough that you can tutor someone else. Tutoring is one thing, but if you’re going to use it as CAS, I would suggest you spice it up a bit; try to connect with an organization or tutor people of a certain demographic. I think an untapped service destination is really the homeless youth in communities, so try to find a way to tutor kids who may not have a home to go to. Or connect with a local school (preferably not your own) and offer up your services.
Walk Dogs: *cough* this also counts for Activity *cough*. As long as you are not making any money from it, you can call this service. I would suggest you look around your neighborhood and ask your neighbors if they would like you to get their dog some exercise. Exercise is so important for animals, and unfortunately so many people do not give their dogs enough of it. Another great place to find dogs to exercise is an animal shelter. You can ask if you can walk their dogs and I almost guarantee they will say yes. Some shelters now will even ask you to take pictures with the dogs and post them on social media to help them get adopted (Always ask before taking pictures of dogs- or anyone for that matter)!
Write: There are two demographics of people that I often find need a lot of love: the elderly and the ill. I am sure you have probably seen those homes for the elderly who need special assistance, and coming from someone who has worked in one, it can be sad. Some people in these places do not have family come to see them often, and they get incredibly lonely despite all the hard work those in the home do to make them feel comfortable. Ask the proprietors of any place you wish to write first, but I think a great way to engage these people is to make them your pen-pal. Letters can be personal and powerful, and they are a great way to socialize with an elder. Also see if you can write to people in hospitals as well, especially kids! Kids with illnesses need a lot of support, and they always light up when they make a new friend- even through letters!
Make Something: Depending on your skill level and what you’re interested, you can use things you make for your Creativity portion as CAS. I have a friend who is painting rocks and selling them on Etsy to support a local children’s hospital. At a Key Club event, we made dog toys out of old T-shirts to donate to an animal shelter. Just remember: if you are selling something, you will have to explain where that money is going. I would also have at least one experience where you work with a group- a group of elementary kids in a poor neighborhood, for example- to make a craft.
Volunteer for One-Time Events: Things like community events, parades, and fun runs can all count for CAS if you decide to volunteer to help organize or work the event. Go to Volunteer Match or look up a race/ event online and click the Volunteer section, and you will find plenty of opportunities that you can schedule as you like.
Partner with an Organization: You can volunteer at hospitals (if you are 16 or older), daycares, and libraries regularly in order to meet your CAS requirement. Choose an organization you are interested in or already love and serve them in any way they may require. This is a great way to make contacts and help your community in a big way- these organizations help a lot of people every day, and you can be part of that!
There is so much more that you can do for service, but I am purposely not including many ideas because this section is really up to you guys. You need to search out causes that mean a lot to you, and be creative with how you get involved. My next post is going to be tips on all parts of CAS, like how to stay motivated with your projects, what you should be getting out of it, and a little bit of why the IB wants you to complete this.
Once again, this is not an exhaustive list of all you could do for CAS, but it is a good place to start! I hope I got some of the creative juices in your brain flowing and I’d love to hear your ideas!
Until next week,