Last week, on February 1st 2018, I had my final CAS interview with Mr Brown.
Architecture for Nature:
Our main achievement was the building of a small clinic for a nearby public high school. We were satisfied that we finished it in time while adhering to the budget, and also that it serves its purpose as a healthcare facility to supplement students’ education. However, we were not as satisfied that due to budget and time restrictions we had to simplify our building design greatly, and had to compromise on issues like sustainability (because a part of the clinic used metal, so it is not purely environmentally friendly).
We also created a website and social media platforms. We are satisfied that it is a way to document our progress and current projects, as a way to get volunteers and to raise awareness about our cause. However, since our official website is still in progress, and our social media is not updated very frequently, we are not as satisfied.
Our final outcome is a bamboo library in progress. We have drawn the plans and contacted the builders. We are satisfied with this new project because it is more sustainable, as bamboo is much more sustainable than plastic bottles and are sturdier. Local builders also have more experience working with bamboo.
The benefit of our service to the community is that we supplement their education with a healthy environment, because students need health facilities so that they can engage in learning knowing that their health is secured.
In terms of sustainability, our project is relatively sustainable as it is not a service we continuously provide to them, so we don’t have to worry about continuing to meet them. However, if the clinic gets damaged, we have promised for them to contact us, and we will fix the damage. We could assign someone here to regularly check on the state of our project if we are unavailable.
Building Literacy Indonesia:
Our most recent achievement is expanding to another area, with 20 more children added to our reading club. We are satisfied with this, because we are able to reach and educate a greater range of audience, and thus contributing to more children being literate.
Another outcome is that the children have increased fluency in English. We taught them to translate simple sentences from English to Indonesian, e.g. filling in blanks about their personal details in English. We are satisfied with this, because we were able to introduce them to a new language, broadening their horizons.
The final outcome is that the children are more aware of Indonesian as well as foreign literature. We studied literature pieces such as Joko Pinurbo’s (award-winning literature poet) Baju Bulan to western classics such as Tom Sawyer and Call of the Wild. There were a range of genres to expose them to become more open-minded to new things, thus we are satisfied with this outcome.
The benefit of this project is that it addresses the issue of literacy for children who do not have access to it. Literacy may help the children in the future by accessing more job opportunities. This also contributes to their exposure to global culture, a bigger world and a more open mindset.
In terms of sustainability, we passed this project down to Year 12s and they will continue to develop the reading clubs and take it further on. In order to regulate our project, we will visit the reading clubs once in a while and check on it through video, pictures and status reports.
As a result of service, I have improved in terms of collaboration and sustained engagement with our community.
Collaboration: For Architecture for Nature, I have improved in terms of leadership and communication, can communicate to them e.g. about how they can improve, without hurting their feelings, e.g. during Challenge Week when the team morale was low. I am also more open to perspectives, e.g. to ideas about the design of our website. For Building Literacy, sometimes delegate tasks to them instead when I cannot come on a Saturday, e.g. for them to prepare the activities, as long as I check and make sure it is appropriate.
Sustained engagement: For Architecture for Nature, we still keep in contact with our community partner SMKN 4 by asking for regular reports on the clinic’s status, if anything is damaged. We also have a new community partner, an elementary school in Surabaya, who we communicate with in terms of the building design, what materials, dimensions, needs, budget, etc. For Building Literacy, we continue to work with the community partner. We ask if there are any materials needed, e.g. more books, stationary, or volunteers to help with certain things, e.g. dealing with young children or speaking English.
The best indicator of my engagement is time. Every week I go to Cerita Mentari to spend an hour with them, with an extra hour at home planning the activities. Every week we also ask for an update from the SMKN community partner about the clinic, and an update on how the building plans are going on from the bamboo library team in Surabaya. We also spend an extra hour every week working on our website and uploading recent events on social media, etc.
The most significant learning outcome that I learnt from this service experience is LO 1, because for the future, we should continuously evaluate our strengths and weaknesses. For example, the recent mock exams were aimed at identifying where we needed to improve so that we could do better in the final exams.
Creativity was used throughout in conjunction with service, e.g. planning the booth design for when I helped a local goods business in Jacoweek 2016 (Jakarta Coffee Week), planning activities for Building Literacy, designing the SEAMC map.
Creativity helps fundraising in more interesting ways than just a mere bake sale, and to raise greater awareness about our purpose, so that we stand out from other CAS projects.
As a result of activity, I attained various things. From Nike fitness and spin class, I attained muscular strength and endurance, evident from the push-up and sit-up test. I also learnt perseverance from dance, through learning all of the difficult techniques, and continuously practicing to improve. I also improved my hand-eye coordination in dance and tennis, for example, from learning new techniques such as backhand and forehand, and making sure to focus on where the ball goes.
To improve, might have spent more time, for example during exams/assessments, I did not spend as much time as I needed on exercise since I prioritized my grades more. I could also ask for more advice on teachers, e.g. on posture, form, technique, etc.
For activity, the personal achievement that best demonstrates my commitment to being active would be getting a ‘Merit’ on the Intermediate Foundation RAD ballet exam, through memorizing techniques and routines, and perfecting them. Also the praise from my teachers about improvement in my flexibility, strength and endurance, since I have been practicing a lot in terms of pointework, stretching, etc.