Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS)
We are all familiar with our community and CAS flagships, Oooch-illim, Global Pathways, supporting the humanitarian crisis in India, GTA Food Banks and the great fun we have with the York Dramaway Cabaret….but have you heard about some of the individual activities that students have initiated on their own accord?
It seems York School students come embedded with a global-outlook and a sense of social responsibility. This is something The York School loves to help cultivate. By creating school-wide and divisional community service initiatives and opportunities, students have curriculum-linked service initiatives that they work on collaboratively with their peers. Students build partnerships with different organizations and act as project managers helping raise awareness, fundraise and support community with their direct needs on the ground.
We asked two students to talk about what they are doing in their community.
PROFILE Shining Through Centre
Alex W. - "I volunteer with the ‘Shining Through Centre’ for children with autism through an organization I founded called the Shining Through Friendship club.
“It has been an absolutely outstanding experience working with children and young adults with autism and learning how applied behavior analysis therapy helps these kids be able to overcome barriers that would seem impossible from the start.
Personally, all of the skills I've gained were just through interactions with my brother, Campbell, who is a student at Shining Through and who has severe autism. Then once the club started, meeting and interacting with all of these people, it really helped me gain a sense of what my role is in terms of not necessarily being a teacher, but a neurotypical friend and role model. Giving these kids the opportunity to make connections and bonds outside of their school means alot.
I've been a part of the friendship club for seven years now and I don't plan on stopping any time soon. While it has been a focal point for my IB experiences including my grade 5 exhibition, grade 10 personal project and now the CAS program, it’s more than simply ticking the boxes. The experience has been incredibly amazing and is very personal for me, so I hope to continue not only using my skills to help out as much as I can, but also develop my understanding of these really amazing kids and their experiences.
COVID really took a toll on the school and the friendship club as ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) is heavily reliant on in person-to-person contact and learning. We are overcoming these issues with innovative online playdates which have had a positive impact. The pandemic has been rough on everyone so hopefully we are able to make a difference - even if it’s small - to shine some light in the lives of the young adults with whom we are working.”
Madeleine B. who also helped create and has been volunteering with Shining Through Centre through the Friendship Club chimes in.
“Many of us have been working with STC since our grade 5 exhibition! Working with children/young adults with Autism and learn more about behaviour analysis theory has been incredible. It's a fun experience where we can make friends and interact with people.
Before COVID, a lot of what we did was running activities for different parties and celebrations throughout the year. Since most in person activities have been suspended, we've had to adapt and figure out a way to keep our connections strong. Our newest project is online Zoom calls, where we talk one on one with people from STC that are our age. We certainly miss our big parties, but it's a great opportunity to build personal connections. The students at STC have the neurotypical interactions with people their age that they've been missing.
The Friendship Club has been an integral part of my school career thus far and I hope to continue to build these connections and learn more skills!”
In a world where we can often feel overwhelmed and powerless to change anything, we’re inspired by our students who show us every day that on both the micro and the macro level, real change can happen if we set our minds to it. Keep going!
CAS is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme requirement that begins in grade 11. It’s one of the three pillars along with TOK (Theory of Knowledge) and EE (the Extended Essay). It’s the wholistic element of IB where students are encouraged to find their passion by pursuing an interest that speaks to their body, mind and soul (and leaving the academics of IB aside). The Creativity, Activity and Service element of the IB fits in well with Ontario’s requirement of 40 volunteer hours before graduation.
All things CAS can be found HERE
on The Stand for those with a yorkschool account.