AWARE: zero sexual violence
CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service), a mandatory component of the IB Diploma (IB DP) programme, enables students to “enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience”. The CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) programme is an integral component of the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP). Students engage in self-directed activities, and then reflect on the goals and learning outcomes that they established at the beginning of the project.
For her CAS project, grade 12 student Nia selected the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) - a gender equality advocacy group in Singapore that supports victims of all forms of sexual violence. Their national “Aim for Zero” campaign aims to transform our society into one with zero sexual violence.
Nia shared that she selected AWARE as it is an amazing non-profit organisation that aligns to her vision and motivations. Nia’s goal was to raise funds in support of AWARE’s “Aim for Zero” campaign. While some of her friends raised funds for the Children’s Cancer Foundation (thanks to a very successful hair-shaving event), Nia wanted to do something different that would raise money, and help drive awareness. After discussing the range of options with AWARE and Ms Rebecca Hosick (her IB CAS coordinator), Nia decided to design a t-shirt that her peers could purchase. By having everyone wear this shirt on campus, students demonstrated that as a community, we stand behind AWARE and their stand against sexual violence.
“This wasn’t about having them (students) wear a t-shirt for a day. I wanted to do something that would bring people together and discuss a very serious issue. So I got in touch with AWARE and asked them to send a representative to CIS to share what the organisation does, and how they utilise the funds we raised.”
The talk was to take place in the Lakeside gym, and Nia planned to present a giant cheque to the AWARE representative. However, Nia was soon to discover that the devil is in the details. “I didn’t have much time to prepare and one of the things I struggled with was knowing how to market the event to the student body.”
Luckily for her, she is on the student council’s marketing committee, so she had insight to some resources that others may not know were available. For example, she was able to work with Ms Michelle Sharp (Head of Communications and Marketing) and Mr Robin Viernes (Designer) to set up an effective on-campus marketing campaign to drive awareness and gather support for the project. She also worked with the student council, and had one day during Spirit Week set aside as AWARE t-shirt day.
While Nia is experienced in design, she soon discovered that the real challenge presented itself when the t-shirt company got her order wrong. But, using the problem-solving skills that come naturally to IB students, Nia was able to work with the company to solve the issue and even got a discount - which meant more money could go towards her fundraising efforts. Despite these challenges, Nia still found it a very rewarding experience, and she managed to raise $1,300 for AWARE.
She is hopeful that this initiative will continue next school year, but in the meantime, she would like to thank everyone who supported her efforts and went the extra mile to help promote her event especially:
Ms Elsa Baptista and Mr Michael Cantelon, for their encouragement and support
Ms Deborah Meacham, for giving valuable advice as CAS advisor and advisory teacher
Ms Rebecca Hosick, for her support as the IB CAS coordinator
Mr Lenan MacDonald, for playing a huge part in encouraging students, in almost all of the classes he teaches, to get involved
Mr Jeff Smith, for his wonderful encouragement and support
All the students who supported the event and purchased t-shirts or chose to donate, for taking a big step to becoming changemakers for important causes
Well done, Nia. Thanks to your efforts, we are definitely more AWARE of sexual violence and the need for zero tolerance.