An innovative school based project, designed to encourage young people to think about prominent social issues and build strong partnerships with local charities is being launched in Grantown on Tuesday (20th November 2012).
The Wood Family Trust is working in partnership with Scottish Hydro and The Highland Council to establish YPI in the Highlands. During the 2012/13 academic year seven secondary schools across the Highland region will participate in the project; Grantown Grammar, Wick High School, Lochaber High School, Inverness Royal Academy, Golspie High School, Tain Academy and Inverness High School.
Delivered over a period of eight to twelve weeks, the Youth & Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) is an interactive citizenship programme which aims to empower young people by giving them the skills and the social awareness required to elicit positive change in their local community. Together pupils work in small teams to consider the issues which affect their local community. The teams then investigate and select the grassroots social service charity who they believe can make a positive contribution towards change. Finally, the project culminates with each team presenting their findings to a panel of judges and the team deemed to have given the most impassioned and creative presentation is awarded £3,000 to donate to their chosen charity.
Created in Canada in 2002, YPI was brought to Scotland by the Wood Family Trust who piloted the programme in 10 secondary schools across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire in 2008. In 2012 YPI will be delivered to over 9000 pupils in 81 secondary schools across 10 local authorities, and will award a total of £243,000 to local Scottish charities.
Grantown Grammar’s School YPI Final on Tuesday 20 November is seen as the perfect opportunity to officially launch YPI in the Highlands. A number of teams from S2 made it to the final where they will deliver their presentations to a panel of judges including their Head Teacher.
Dugal McCrow, YPI Lead at Grantown Grammar said: “YPI is providing a rich and rewarding experience for our S2 pupils, giving them the chance to use and further develop their skills across the whole curriculum in an engaging and meaningful way.”
The programme is providing development opportunities for Scottish Hydro employees who are engaging with the schools and pupils during the YPI process. Employees are providing skills and expertise to assist the pupils including mentoring them in their presentation skills.
Gillian O’Reilly Head of Community Development, Scottish Hydro said “At Scottish Hydro we aim to be a good neighbour and actively engage with the local community through a variety of volunteering and education focused programmes. We wanted to support YPI because it endorses similar ethics in young people whilst supporting their personal development. Firstly it helps young people understand the role they can play in contributing towards their community, and secondly it develops communication, entrepreneurial, leadership and team working skills which will be invaluable in their adult and working life.”
Calum MacSween, Head of Education Services, The Highland Council, said: “YPI has embedded itself in both the ethos and practice of Curriculum for Excellence. It provides schools with a clearly structured, classroom tested programme that develops citizenship in a stimulating, thought provoking way while bringing financial benefit to local charities. I am not surprised that seven Highland secondary schools have embraced it so readily.”
Since it was started by The Toskan Casale Foundation in Canada, YPI has been successfully implemented in more than 250 secondary schools across England, Canada, USA and Scotland.