Reaching Out to Others
Imagine: it’s a mid summer’s evening; a festival atmosphere, a BBQ and friends; plumes of smoke, red and yellow rise across a field; moments of chaos and fun as paint flies in all directions; the SHARE Colour Run is in full swing. Imagine instead, agreeing to sleep-out with just a cardboard box and a sleeping bag; outside with a barrel camp fire and all your other Year 12 students in Mid-December. The evening begins with a great atmosphere and music but no doubt that this becomes a challenge by 3.00am, when your hat is not as warm as you hoped. In the morning, however, a feeling of accomplishment, sharing a cooked breakfast together and knowing you have managed the cold night.
There are great challenges in the world; like young people, living locally, without futures or a place to stay and all the other challenges you can imagine that caused being homeless at 17. Whilst in Zambia, we work with children coming from the most challenging places you can imagine, struggling to get enough to eat as they arrive at a school we support. These are some realities our students come to understand and witness as they volunteer each year in Zambia with our SHARE charity.
The good news is that being a part of Salesian Sixth Form you will not simply understand these issues you will do something about them. The Colour Run (as mentioned earlier) raises money for Mrs Mweete’s daily Porridge Club in Zambia which feeds 750 pupils each day at Luyobulola school for the vulnerable in Mazabuka, Zambia.
The challenging Sponsored Sleep-Out, with a great atmosphere and cold hands, is a student promoted and led event which has been raising thousands of pounds for local homeless teenagers, for more than 15 years and now it is a Sixth Form tradition which our Year 12 students enjoy experiencing (although perhaps will not want to do again!) each year
At other points in the year you might be in Lourdes face-painting children with a variety of complex, social and physical needs at a party you have organised for them with your friends from Sixth Form. These experiences raise horizons and develop your sense of social justice.
We also work with our students to understand these issues in more depth. For example, all Year 12 students have the opportunity to develop their presentation skills, advocacy and understanding of the root causes of poverty on the Cafod youth development programme, which includes training days throughout the year. As a SHARE advocate, or HCPT volunteer in Lourdes you will undertake a programme of training which really develops you as a person.
The result of all this is the development of students who go on to make a real difference in their professional lives and continue to work and fundraise for these charities. For example, recent students serve as trustees of these charities and continue to work together for them. This charitable work also develops and benefits our students in applying to University. In professions such as Medicine, Dentistry and Law there is a particular need to demonstrate this concern for others. However, all Universities want students who have a social conscience and are concerned for others.
At Salesian Sixth Form, our students regularly describe these experiences of reaching out to others in a student team, as ‘life changing’. We would love you to be a part of the team in the year ahead.
Therefore, inspired by the life and work of Sean Devereux, our former student who led UN missions in many parts of Africa, Salesian College Sixth Form takes an active role in many student-led events and charitable activities to ‘reach out to others’. A brief list of some of our ‘reaching out to others’ events and programs include:
- Lourdes Pilgrimage working with disabled children for all Year 12 students
- Zambia SHARE Project (visiting Zambia and returning as advocates for the vulnerable with a large team of other students who experienced the journey themselves)
- Sleep-Out in aid of the Step by Step homeless charity for the young
- Charity events for Zambian Porridge Club including a Race Night, Colour Run and BBQs
- College Fun Run
- Advocacy projects in the community
- Working in a voluntary capacity to develop the communication skills of local children who speak English as a second language
- Being trained in CAFOD fundraising and primary liaison in a 14-week programme with Cafod
- The event which you will start as a Sixth Form Student...?