The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) is an active citizenship programme that raises awareness about philanthropy in the community amongst young people at 256 schools across Scotland. Each school is responsible for directing a £3000 YPI grant to a local charity through a unique programme of teamwork, research and competition. Pupils develop a wide range of new skills including interviewing techniques, video-editing and presenting in addition to gaining an understanding of social service issues and the work of local charities.
A humbling experience in many ways, the initiative is invaluable for our young people. As Mrs Reilly said ‘this is a unique opportunity to walk in other peoples’ shoes and is an experience that pupils should treasure. Charity is not just about money – volunteering and awareness raising are equally important and our pupils appreciate that now having participated in both. In many schools, YPI is undertaken by SV or SVI students, but at St Columba’s our SII pupils are provided with the opportunity to participate in this immensely worthwhile initiative and this year they very much stepped up to the challenge.
Mr Tait, Head of Guidance, led the children through this programme and was inspired by their tenacity and compassion. On the day of the final, he welcomed charity representatives Paul Johnson, Finding Your Feet; Emma Parker, Victim Support Scotland; Carol Bjoness, Inverclyde Homeless Forum as well as Alistair Cairns, YPI South Glasgow Regional Facilitator.
Here is a short summary of the charity and how the children championed their cause to the panel of judges:
Strathgryffe chose Finding Your Feet, an inspirational charity that helps people live with the loss of a limb, not by seeking a prosthesis but living a fulfilling life as an amputee. The children were astounded by the number of clubs the charity offers and were particularly impressed by the way Find Your Feet helps make positive societal change by influencing attitudes towards people who have lost a limb.
Craigmarloch’s charity was the empowering Victim Support Scotland. The children’s interesting presentation focussed on a St Columba’s pupil weighed down by a bag of worries. This visual representation sent a strong message about the impact that shouldering problems and fears can have. The charity plays a pivotal role in offering emotional and physical support to victims of crime.
Playlist for life was the choice of Kilallan, a pioneering charity founded by Sally Magnusson which aims to improve the lives and conditions of those living with dementia. Its aim is to provide a personal playlist for each sufferer, a collection of songs that will spark emotion and stimulate the brain. Music is not a cure but it can help and our young philanthropists were keen to further the charity’s cause to provide every dementia sufferer in the UK (over 800,000 people) with a playlist.
The winning team was Duchal, who chose to raise awareness of The Inverclyde Homeless Forum. The team’s presentation centred round video testimonials recorded on one of the group’s site visits to the charity. This was a powerful way of conveying the plight of many users of the charity, which seeks to provide an array of services –from clothes and toiletries to food and social inclusion programmes. The £3,000 donation will help sustain the charity for a further 2 years, a truly fantastic outcome. Pupils said that working with the Forum completely changed their perspective on homelessness: ‘you see the homeless person and you realise that it could be any one of us. It’s can easily happen.’
While The Homeless Forum won the £3,000, each of the other charities will receive a donation from the school.
YPI is all about creativity and passion, leaving the four walls of the classroom behind, and supporting the issues young people care most about. To date, YPI Scotland has engaged more than 140,000 students, providing them with the essential skills and confidence to grant over £3.2 million to hundreds of local charities. The programme is principally funded and managed in Scotland by The Wood Foundation.