Creating a culture of empowerment for young people through volunteering and social action
A blog by Sciennes Primary School, on their #IWill experience so far – and why you should get involved in the campaign this #IWillWeek!
We were delighted to be invited to participate in a seminar at the recent Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow to speak about #IWill within our school. For us the #IWill campaign creates a culture of empowerment for young people by supporting them to volunteer & take action.
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 and present our #IWill journey so far.
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. It 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 as ‘promises from adults to children’ helps them recognise when promises are broken and feel motivated to take action. We worked with 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 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. She was 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. Our P6 classes have campaigned on Clean Air Day for the last three years, measuring and raising awareness 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 featured the following year in the UNICEF Outright campaign on Toxic Air.
We have worked with our friends at we.org and Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS) over many years and recommended checking out their array of excellent resources for supporting youth social action.
We hope our contribution helps acknowledge the relevance and benefits of the #IWill campaign. Our young people have risen to the occasion exceptionally well and campaigned so passionately about issues that concern them. When called upon, they said “#IWill!” and they certainly did! We hope you will too!
Ready to get involved in #IWillWeek? Download our #IWill Partner Pack. Here you’ll find all the information and resources you need to engage with the campaign and spread positive messages about the #PowerOfYouth!