Schools are one of the biggest influencers amongst our young people today and are key to supporting and encouraging young people to become engaged and active within their School and wider community.
Many Schools encourage their pupils to think about volunteering in order to enhance UCAS, CV and their overall employability and whilst this is important many young people are telling us that they simply wish to make a difference. This could be through peer mentoring, fundraising committees or externally in youth groups, charity shops or health and social care settings.
Volunteer Now can support your School develop volunteering programmes but also enable you to recognise your student’s commitment through the Millennium Volunteers programme.
The Millennium Volunteers (MV) programme is funded by the Education Authority and supported by the Department of Education to give you an opportunity to recognise the commitment that your students give to volunteering both within the school and wider community.
We know that universities, colleges and employers are seeking a potential candidate who has the grades but who also shows that they are willing to do a little bit more. Many schools have numerous opportunities for their students to volunteer their time and make a positive difference e.g. peer mentoring/buddying, enrichment programmes, environmental groups, fundraising committees, sports coaching and many more.
MV gives the school the opportunity to recognise their students for their commitment, it gives an opportunity to say thank you, highlight the increased character and virtues that they have gained as a result and provide them with the additional validation for their future employability. It also raises the profile of the School within the wider community.
The Schools Award is equivalent to the 50 Hour Award noting the time given between September and Easter is approximately 35-50 depending on role, training and commitment given.
“Millennium Volunteers programme has real currency…simple and provides a structure and framework.”
MV also encourage students to include ALL their commitment so that their recognition includes School and their local group.
“I appreciated making an impact on the lives of young people by helping in the running and organisation of the School. I also enjoyed organising events at my Young Farmers Club and having a say in the running of the organisation. Overall, I enjoyed boosting the confidence of young people and seeing a change in their attitude towards school and social events”. (200 Hour Awardee from Ballymena)
Volunteer Now has a resource to support your School to undertake a social action programme!
Social action is an alternative way of encouraging young people to volunteer and our programme is a high quality, youth led model to engage and motivate young people to make a difference to a cause or organisation they are passionate about.
Our model involves 7 (flexible) sessions. It is important to note that these meet the needs of the young people and those who support them. It is based on groups of 8-15 young people (although larger groups could be facilitated) to ensure involvement, engagement and ownership amongst the young people.
Sessions 1-4 and 7 take approximately 7/8 hours (in total) and include a discussion on what volunteering is; why volunteer; the issues they would like to address; ‘pitches’ from organisations, young people and governance and evaluation.
Sessions 5 and 6 involves the planning and implementation of a social action project, for the issue of their choice in partnership with a local organisation. It can be as long as the timetable allows, and the complexity of the projects chosen. Ideally students will be encouraged to undertake research at home and plan work in time for the next session.