CAS, the highlight of the IB Programme. Where you can bake cookies, watch foreign films or do knitting and have the excuse that ‘it counts for CAS’. While it’s easy to accumulate experiences, doing a required CAS Project seems to be the one that students shy away from until their second year. However, a Charity Run is one Project that can be tackled early on in your IB years. Doing a Charity Run encompasses all 3 strands of CAS: Creativity, Activity, and Service. And you’ll be raising money to then donate to a charity of your choice.
The first phase of your Project journey is to plan! Find a run near you, and sign up. The best way to search for one is to Google ‘fun run’ or ‘charity run’ and your local city. It is then it’s a matter of finding times and dates which suit you or the project. Try to start this phase a couple of months before the event, as training time is essential for the project! However, if a run isn’t for many months, take advantage of that – the earlier you start training, the easier it gets. Along with that it embeds itself into your routine, so it becomes like muscle memory.
Then, form a team within your school and community. This can count as Creativity, as you could create posters to advertise around your school and social media. Ask your CAS Supervisor or a teacher if you’re allowed to put posters up. Along with that talk the Project through with them after you find a run. Make sure you do this before you start to advertise. This is to see if you need to make any changes and get approval. Be open to listening to them – they may have some suggestions or more ideas for how you can promote it! Make a point of involving staff and students to help you get the word out! If your school has a social media page, use that to your advantage and get some material out on it. It could be a poster, fundraising link or could even be videos of training.
For me, I was inspired by one of the students in the grade above me who did a run earlier in the year and did it as her CAS Project. I researched runs that were occurring during the year and picked one that was 2 and a half months away. I contacted her about any tips she had for me. This is also an awesome way to connect with your peers and gain knowledge. If you’re wondering about how to tackle a run, ask others! After taking some of her advice on board and emailing students at my school to advertise, I took it a step further and designed posters that I hung around the school and posted on my school’s social media.
After you’ve formed a team, start training. This obviously is Activity, and you can either train by yourself or motivate others and train together. This training can go for many weeks, until the event, which can build the healthy habit of long-term exercise, and can be a motivator for a later ongoing CAS experience as well.
Advertise your team and cause to raise funds for the cause (do I see global engagement? 😉).
This fundraising can involve service, as your team and school can get-together to knit, bake or create and sell those items to raise funds for your cause. You could also raise school donations by having a free-dress day (in countries with school uniforms). You could also or host funky dress up days in others.
I started training 9 weeks before the run, using an app called ‘Couch to 5km’. I found that it worked well for me, as I had never run 5km before. However, for my CAS Project partner, she found the program a bit slow for her, as she had done some running before, so she just skipped ahead a few weeks in the training. Do what works for you, because everyone is different.
For the Service part, I initially wanted to host a Mother’s Day Bake Sale, which would be Creativity for baking and Service because we would donate all funds raised to our charity fundraising goal. However, we were told by our school that this wasn’t a feasible option. So we hosted a Pink Day where students donated $1 or $2 to wear pink accessories to school. This is another important point in conducting a CAS Project – you’re going to encounter some, maybe many, obstacles along the way, so try to have a backup plan just in case, but if not, it’s not the end of the world.
As you reach the final stretch before the event, go crazy with advertising! Make it the first thing people see when they walk into school, reach out to family and friends to donate… blast it on social media!
Then get your team to dress up! Tutus, bright socks, and ribbons always bring joy to the event, and it also makes it easier to see your teammates. Get out there and have fun!
I was pumped very excited for the run! But, when I actually did it, I was walking and running instead of running the whole way. Although for all my training runs I could run the whole way I had to acknowledge that I had never run the course that we did before, and that I had to be proud of myself for everything that I’d accomplished to get to that point. While everything may not be perfect on the day or turn out like what you expected, don’t forget that it’s all a learning opportunity and you’ve grown so much from the process.
You did it! Celebrate your success, and all that you accomplished for yourself and your cause. Now’s the time to thank everyone who donated and helped you along the way, and to get writing those CAS reflections.
Furthermore, even though the minimum requirement of CAS is to do one Project, this run can be a project that could be done again, though in a different way – such as a bike, swim or obstacle course. Or, if you want to take it even further, create an event yourself! You can integrate CAS into your life any way you want to, and complete a CAS Project that can easily involve all CAS strands – and can be completed in Year 1 of the IB.