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Lumen Christi College

In 2007 Lumen Christi College agreed to pilot the Millennium Volunteers School programme and since then the partnership between the School, its pupils, Volunteer Now and the wider volunteering community has grown and flourished.

This case study provides an insight into how the School supports volunteering within the School and wider community.

The School’s Vision supports this direction:

“The name Lumen Christi shows our abiding faith in the power of Christ to inspire. His Spirit is to be the inspiration underlying all the life and work of the school. Faith in God expressing itself in practice will be central to our community.”

In order to support volunteering the School, through the unstinting support of Mr Doherty, have developed an outreach programme to meet the needs of the students, the organisations that they support and the School’s vision.

How it works in practice:

At the beginning of Term 1 in Year 13 students are informed about the outreach programme and the opportunity that they have on a Thursday afternoon (usually the last hour of the day is set aside) to either volunteer or undertake work experience.

The programme is launched during the 1st week of the new term with the view to beginning roles during the last week in September.  Students are informed about the value of volunteering, the importance of giving a little bit of their time for the benefit of others and the recognition that they can receive as a result of their volunteering.  Presentations are made by the Millennium Volunteers programme and also the Pope John Paul II Awards outlining the recognition that they can receive.  Their volunteering can also be recognised within the President’s Award.

If they wish to organise their own volunteering or work experience students must:

  • Arrange this for themselves.
  • Provide school with contact name, address and phone number.
  • Provide insurance details – not permitted to begin until Indemnity Insurance in place.
  • Access NI is undertaken with the organisation as appropriate for the role. Working in groups and in supported roles means that checks are rarely required.

For students wishing to avail of the School’s programme they receive a list of current opportunities along with the number of roles that are available.  Students are asked to give a maximum of 3 preferences (in order) and the School commit to doing their best to give all 1st choice preferences.

Below are a sample of regular opportunities:

  • Long Tower Primary School (10)
  • Nazareth House Primary School (13)
  • Caring Environments – Ardavon House (6) / Greenhaw Lodge (4)
  • Student Support (Study Provision)
  • Life Saving Skills (20)
  • Music Tuition (Gas Yard) (5)
  • Work Experience / Volunteering (arranged by student)
  • Long Tower Senior Citizens Club (15)
  • Mandarin Chinese (10)
  • School PR Team (4)
  • Young Enterprise (12-15)

Commitment

From the pupils:

  • To ensure that they attend every session.
  • To remember that they are a pupil of the School and School rules still apply.
  • That they are enthusiastic and energetic!

From the School:

  • A teacher is designated to support each activity, to go with the pupils at the beginning and make sure they know their roles, and everyone is settled.
  • To check in on students and the organisation throughout the period to make sure all is working well.
  • A teacher may be responsible for a number of opportunities, e.g. Ardavon House and Greenhaw Lodge.
  • To report and solve where appropriate any issues which may arise.

From the Organisation:

  • To ensure that appropriate roles are available for the number and interests of the students who are attending.
  • To ensure that all staff are aware of the opportunities and attendance of the pupils.
  • To ensure that the volunteers are aware of the impact of the roles on the organisation and those they support.
  • Reassurance that they don’t need any specific talents to volunteer – enthusiasm and a willingness to try.

The impact:

Lumen Christi College was the first School in Northern Ireland to recognise its students through the Millennium Volunteers Schools Award.  The Award recognised the sustained commitment that young people gave either within or through their School.  In the School year, giving one hour per week as well as training and additional meetings that may occur students would give a minimum of 35 hours from September to Easter.  The outreach programme finishes at the end of the 2nd term so that students can concentrate on their exams.  All Year 13 students have the opportunity to receive their MV Schools Award which is presented to them at the beginning of Year 14.  Many go on to receive their 100 Hour Awards and indeed the 200 Hour Award of Excellence every year.

For the School:

  • Provides an opportunity to engage with the local community.
  • Provides an opportunity for their students to see if their chosen career path is the right one for them.
  • Provides an opportunity for the School and students to give something back to their local community and make a positive difference on others.
  • Provides an opportunity for the Students to gain vital skills and experiences outside of the classroom.

For the pupils:

  • Wide range of activities offered
  • I learnt great skills that I will be able to take into the future
  • Helped me improve leadership and organisational skills
  • Encouraged me in planning to be a teacher
  • I can use my GAA qualification in my club
  • Useful for UCAS application

Music Tuition @ Gasyard: Twice nominated for the Outstanding Community Service Award and one-time winner!

For those pupils who organised their own volunteering journeys they volunteered with organisations like the Western Health and Social Care Trust, Oxfam Ireland, local youth and community groups, the Foyle Hospice and charities that they had a personal connection to.

For the organisations:

  • The length of the programme is ideal as it gives volunteer, users and organisation time to build relationships.
  • Volunteering within the residential homes has a particular positive impact on the residents: “The singing lifted their moods, so much so that one particular lady decided that she would sing 2 songs by herself! The residents enjoy the young people coming in to see them every week and you can tell it means a lot to them from their faces and behaviour. Some of the residents also liked to have a bit of craic/banter with the young people.”
  • Mentoring and supporting young people with their studies also has had a positive impact with teachers noting an increase in learning and enthusiasm!
  • “We love the partnership and hope it continues.”

In Conclusion

Lumen Christi College have developed a model of supporting and engaging their students in volunteering that works for the School, the pupils and the local community.  Teachers and pupils alike see the benefits of supporting such a programme and it has gained a permanence in the timetable to ensure its sustainability.

If you would like further information on Lumen Christi’s model please do not hesitate to contact: Stephen Doherty – sdoherty082@lumenchristi.derry.ni.sch.uk

 

 

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