As for the CAS project, I spoke to my service group about what could be done to help my community. Since we had been online for a while, it was hard to make a CAS project including hands-on work to physically be able to make or do something. Therefore, the RCCI service leader and I decided to brainstorm upon different problems our own service came across along the years, and realized that every time we would promote our service group to the OSC community, people would be eager to join, however would never truly understand the difficulties they would face.
The RCCI service group works with members that are impaired in terms of communication, therefore we felt as though making a poster/ flyer for tips and advice to being a good service member would be a helpful tool for future service members that would receive this poster.
This is the final poster that my co-leader and I were able to create. It includes aspects that would help future members joining the RCCI service group; in terms of reminding or teaching them different skills they would need to have to be the best member they can be. It teaches them the difficulties of collaborating with communication impaired students and also overcoming barriers such as language, to help them communicate in new forms if they do not know the same languages.
The first tip is communication: through my two years of being a leader, I realized that one challenge I’ve had to overcome is not knowing how to communicate with them. I learnt a few Sinhala words: hello, welcome, thank you etc. so that they would feel more welcome and personally connected. This definitely helped collaborate with them, as there was a newfound level of trust and respect amongst both sides.
The second tip is being prepared: this looks at initiatives and planning of our members. It is important to never walk in empty handed; both literally and mentally. RCCI is a hands on service, where we try to use objects such as balls; paint brushes, books and more; this means that we would always have to come prepared and bring new activities to the sessions to keep it lively and fun. Having conversation topics is also important; for example, there was a student that really enjoyed Tamil movies, he would always talk to members and I about new movies that came out which he watched during the weekend; I made sure to try to ask friends in the OSC community, or look up new movies that were pretty popular that he would also know so that he would feel a stronger connection between us.
The third tip about staying proactive ensures that all our members are engaged. This shows the considerations of our choices, in order to make the RCCI students feel as though we do care and enjoy our sessions. There have been times where members are not engaged, and this is definitely felt by the students; we wish to show maximum enthusiasm.
The fourth tip is staying attentive, which is similar to staying proactive; as this also emphasizes the need to make the students feel as though we care and are enjoying sessions too; this can only be done by genuinely enjoying which is why as service leader, I always ask members what they wish to do for our sessions, and help them enjoy as much as possible as well.
Lastly, one of the most important tips we could think of is staying patient. We tend to feel frustrated when we are not able to explain instructions or understand what they are trying to tell us. Staying patient and understanding that they also have a hard time communicating with us is critical to being a good RCCI service member. We don’t want to rush them, and make them feel as though they are not doing their best in our sessions.
Overall, this CAS project has been extremely beneficial to my own conclusion of service, and was a way for me to pass on all the knowledge and experience I’ve had over the last two years in order to make future members and leaders more aware of how to be a good member. It will also be beneficial for future members and leaders to understand these important tips that will guide them through service sessions. I plan on printing these posters and keeping a few around Ms. Manushi’s room, where service sessions are planned, as well as have these posters up when promoting the service group so people can gain ideas on how to be a good member.