We were delighted to be invited by Jenni Snell (Youthlink Scotland and Scottish lead on the UK wide #IWill campaign) to participate in a seminar at the Scottish Learning Festival on Wednesday 25th September 2019 at the SEC in Glasgow. The #IWill campaign aims to create a culture of empowerment for young people through volunteering and social action.
“Young people are making a huge difference in Scotland by giving their time and energy to help people and causes they care about. Hear from pupils and Lucy Gallagher DHT from Sciennes Primary and YouthLink Scotland about their experiences of the #IWill campaign and find out how you can get involved.”
Dochart 1 Seminar code: D1A
Four very excited Primary Six pupils – Bella, Serena, Lexie and Sofia – had a very early start, arriving at school for 7am to head through to Glasgow on the train. Thank you very much to families for supporting their participation.
Jenni Snell led the seminar by explaining the #IWill Campaign, its background, purposes and benefits. Rachael Hatfield (Vice Chair-Highland Youth Parliament, MSYP for Inverness &Nairn) gave a presentation on her role as an #IWill Ambassador, which was very powerful and inspiring. Though the campaign is most widely know in the secondary and tertiary sectors, it has strong relevance in the primary sector too and fits naturally with existing initiatives such as ECO Schools and Rights Respecting Schools. It supports schools in developing for example Ethos, IDL, Wider Achievement, DYW and Health and Wellbeing and provides an affirmative umbrella and badge, recognising and celebrating young people’s actions in making a difference to others as part of a national movement.
Teaching our young people about the UNCRC (celebrating its 30th anniversary this year) as ‘promises from adults to children’ helps them recognise when promises are broken and feel motivated to take action. Class Teacher Wendy French and Student Teacher Alba Cadeiron worked with the children last year to help them understand and take action on issues surrounding Child Labour. Sofia, Lexie and Serena spoke eloquently about what they learned and how they were so motivated by their awareness raising campaign last year that they have now set up their own lunch time club this year to continue their efforts.
Bella shared how her idea to create a dressing up costume library won her a ‘Make A Difference’ award from Edinburgh’s 1 in 5 Child Poverty Awareness campaign. Bella and her friend Emma were in P2 at the time. Bella also shared how she and her classmates in three P5 classes last year led an #iwill4nature themed Summer Fair in June. DHT Carolyn Anstruther has for many years established a P3 led Harvest Appeal where all P3 pupils take on fundraising for a home or an away charity – Foodbank or Send A Cow to Africa. Our P6 classes have campaigned on Clean Air Day for the last three years, measuring and raising awarenes of air quality, which has helped with our School Streets road closure. Marching with placards to reclaim the streets from the Meadows down the Mound to George Street was picked up by UNICEF and led to the children being feautured the following year in the UNICEF Outright campaign on Toxic Air.
We have worked with our friends at we.org over many years and recommended checking out their array of excellent resources for supporting youth social action, many of them tailored to the Scottish curriculum, such as ‘We Scare Hunger‘ and ‘We Won’t Rest.’ It was wonderful to meet up with them on their SLF stand!
Great to see Joan from the Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS) on her stand, too. A Duke of Edinburgh type award for 10-14 year olds – which originated from a Sciennes’ staff idea! – is a fantastic resource for tracking, recording and accrediting volunteering and social action. Our first #IWill pledge six years ago related to our P6 and P7 pupils annually undertaking social action for the ‘Me and My World’ section of the award.
We hope our contribution to the seminar helped acknowledge the relevance and benefits of the #IWill campaign and that we were able to share some of the approaches, resources and agencies that have supported us in promoting young people making a difference. Thank you very much to Jenni for inviting us. It was a truly memorable day for our young people who rose to the occasion exceptionally well and spoke so passionately about issues that concern them and the actions they have taken to address these. When called upon, they said “I will!” and they certainly did!