Giving Compass' Take:

• Kyle Wagner, writing for Getting Smart, explains the C.A.S. program, designed for elementary school students to cultivate leadership skills by organizing community service projects. 

• How do community service projects integrate a sense of social impact awareness in children? Why is this important in order to develop the next generation of givers? 

• Here are five tips to help you plan thoughtful community service projects. 

Welcome to the junior C.A.S. programme; a program designed for elementary-aged students to develop leadership and skills for the future by taking on projects that create a positive impact in the community.

All projects are student organized, student-designed, and student-managed. The only adult role is to help support groups in setting goals, and following through on their desired outcomes.  Below is a list of some example projects and skills related to helping drive ideas.

  1. Complex Problem Solving: Community service projects all demand a fair share of problem-solving. When the papermaking project created excess pulp, students had to determine what to do with the unwanted waste.
  2. Critical Thinking: After a lengthy deliberation of possible project ideas, grade 4-5 students decided upon a treasure hunt.  Each stage of the project demanded a high level of critical thinking. How would they take obscure and detailed maps and make them kid- friendly? How would they coordinate the clues with the map
  3. Creativity: A rambunctious group of year 5 boys decided they wanted to tackle the issue of recycling. This process helped them finally stumble upon an idea: they would make toys out of the recyclables. Fast forward to now, 2 months into the project. They have a youtube channel, 5-10 different recyclable toys, and plans for a school carnival made entirely of recyclables.
  4. People Management: All of the student projects involve some kind of people management. The newsletter requires each group to meet deadlines and submit their work in a timely fashion.
  5. Coordinating with Others: Coordination with others also involves stakeholders within the community. The treasure hunt group reached out to local shopkeepers in order to receive gift card donations to use as prizes for the hunt.

Read the full article about cultivating skills for the future by Kyle Wagner at Getting Smart.