Yesterday, I had the pleasure of judging a school competition where the prize was £3000 awarded to a charity of the winning team’s choice. The initiative is run in the UK by the Institute for Philanthropy and aims to increase the engagement of school children in working to improve their local communities.
I really like this idea. It’s a way of getting small sums of money out into the community in ways that will really make a difference. Small teams of secondary school children make choices about where the money will make most impact, and yesterday I heard eight different teams present their ideas.
What struck me was the passion with which many of the young people had for their respective charity choices. Their presentations were innovative and engaging – a far cry from polished corporate presentations that serve to send us to sleep! Drama, music, song, poetry, movies and many carefully crafted stories all sought to build our understanding of what was possible with a relatively small sum of money.
The winning team of three young ladies were simply superb – a beautifully flowing presentation that had energy and plenty of compelling argument. They had clearly spent time with the charity and had a strong relationship with the founder. Their passion shone through. The recipient of the £3000 was a small local charity that supports survivors of sexual and domestic violence and abuse – Waltham Forest Haven.
The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative currently runs in 65 London schools. I’d wholeheartedly recommend more schools to participate! This type of work does much to increase the engagement of young people with their schools – it was clearly engaging with the hearts of young people yesterday. I will start to think about a theme around school-community relationship that can be a part of the upcoming global education conference I’m designing – more at www.edspace24.com.