by Sean McEwen – Youth & Integration Coordinator
“I usually run a volunteering programme for TY’s between our school and our local special education school with a buddy programme, but Covid changed that this year.” – Caoimhe O’Leary, TY Coordinator
Transition Year students of Holy Faith Secondary School in Clontarf self-selected to form the schools Localise volunteering group and participated in three programmes to date. Despite lockdown and school closure, the students were able to make a positive impact in their community.
The first programme the students completed in September was the Volunteering For All Award. This award recognises and affirms the volunteering that the students undertake inside and outside of school, and recoignises the school being one that embraces vlunteerism and celebrates diversity. The students surveyed over 500 of their peers and learned about their volunteering history and ambitions. They also found out about the diversity in the school, the languages spoken and the places parents/guardians were born in.
You can learn more about the programme here: https://virtual.localise.ie/course/volunteering-for-all-award/
In December, the students participated in a call to action to thank the front line workers of Fairview Nursing Home.
“Localise organised us to make Christmas cards / thank you cards for the staff of Fairview Nursing Home and making simple decorations to hang around the nursing home. They organised everything from tutorial videos for the decorations, to dropping off the crafts needed.” – Caoimhe O’Leary, TY Coordinator
students efforts did not go unnoticed and were appreciated by all.
Due to school closures the next project the students embarked on was conducted entoerly online. Students donated over 200 books to Respond Housing and recorded personalised read-along videos for the children using Respond’s services.
Respond is Ireland’s leading housing association and has built more than 5,500 homes nationwide. Respond has provided homes for traditional families, lone-parent families, older persons, the homeless and people with disabilities. They also provide access to education, childcare, community development programmes, housing and other supports.
The students used props, funky backgrounds and costumes when reading their story to the camera. The videos then were sent securely to individual children along with the book donated by each student. This project is a tremendous example of youth volunteerism in a digital world showing us all a powerful example to how we can still make difference, even when we are apart.
The Localise Classroom to Community programme is available free of charge to all schools and can be accessed online via www.virtual.localise.ie.
Classroom to Community is a seed programme that awakens the spirit of volunteerism and helps develop key skills necessary to respond to real needs within the local community. It is designed for all ages and learner types and easily fits with existing curriculum components or can be implemented as a stand-alone volunteering programme.
The programme is divided into 5 modules. Classes are typically timetabled once a week, some sessions can be completed virtually when necessary. It typically takes between 8 and 10 weeks to complete this programme.
Localise Youth Volunteering has been working in partnership with schools to implement student led volunteering programmes since 2007.