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CAS Reflection: Service (RDA) – Reflection 4

CAS Reflection: Service

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)

Reflection 4

Learning Outcome(s):

  1. Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.

 

My time volunteering at this service has honestly taught me a lot. I’ve learned not only about ASD and cerebral palsy, but also a method of therapy which never really occurred to me before. RDA focuses on using riding as a way to offer physiotherapy to children who have physical disabilities, and it also offers a way for children with cognitive disorders to interact with people and horses and give them a change of pace.

I think a service working for a cause like this is highly significant as it offers children new experiences that they may not have gotten elsewhere, and there’s many social benefits to it for the child as well as physical and psychological benefits. Often times it can be difficult for these children to achieve this, so organisations like RDA can really help in making a difference and I think that’s really amazing.

Being a sidewalker allowed me to really interact with the children and learn about them as learners/riders as well as just who they were and though at times it was tough, it was really rewarding seeing their progress as the sessions passed and seeing them learn new skills. I actually received some minor leader training where I helped lead the horse of my rider rather than act as a sidewalker, but I chose not to continue the training as I felt like I was making a greater impact on the kids as a sidewalker. I think this experience of volunteering at RDA has made me a lot more aware of different physical disorders too, and it allowed me to get first-hand experience with working with children with ASD and I’ve definitely learned a lot along the way.

 

CAS Reflection: Project Week – Reflection 3 (Action)

CAS Reflection: Project Week

Project Week in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Reflection 3

Action

 

Learning Outcome(s):

  1. Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.

 

Project Week was one of the most amazing experiences this year for me. As someone who was initially terrified of the idea of it, it was so much more casual and fun than I thought it would be.

One of my favourite parts of Project Week was definitely visiting School For Life. The first day we were working with younger kids who were very shy, so it was a little difficult for us to try and engage them in different activities. On the second day, however, we worked with slightly older kids who were maybe around 2 years younger than us, but it was one of the best experiences. Though we couldn’t properly understand each other, I could see that the kids were willingly trying to learn English through talking to us, and they also taught us some Thai along the way. I especially bonded with two girls in particular because we shared a love for the same music groups. Meeting and bonding with these kids showed me a lot. School For Life especially works in order to provide education and shelter for children who may not have access to it. I’ve learned about organisations like this all throughout my school career, however this is probably the first time I’ve really been integrated and seen it firsthand. Seeing the children there working so hard to learn and have fun in life was amazing to see, but it also reminded me of how there are still many children in the world, not just in Thailand, who still don’t have access to education.

We actually donated speakers as well as a certain sum of money to help with infrastructure to try and offer more aid, but I think our visit where we spent time bonding with the children and helping them speak English through our interactions had a positive impact on the children directly. Even after only one day with them, they showed a better understanding of English, and it made me so happy to see them really bonding with all of us. Honestly, we had a lot of fun there, and we were really sad to leave.

Aside from service, we also did two days of activity; one day rafting and one day trekking. Rafting was something I was very comfortable with as I had done it before, however due to the time of year in which we were going, we actually had to raft individually (with guides in our individual boats of course) which was something new, but I actually didn’t get worried about it at all. It was an amazing experience. However, I think the lowlight of my Project Week experience would have probably been trekking. I’m not very strong when it comes to trekking, but I agreed to the activity as a compromise because my group members really wanted to do it. It turned out to be one of the hardest treks I had ever done and I honestly did not enjoy most of it. We should have really assessed the difficulty of the trek with our own skills and either prepared for it beforehand, or chosen something that wasn’t that far out of our comfort zone.

Overall though, I really enjoyed my Project Week experience and I really miss it. I find it hilarious now how scared I was for this back in Grade 5 when it actually turned out to be very streamlined and a lot easier. I learned a lot of life skills and independence and I’m really thankful for this experience.