Positive Role Models and a Sense of Belonging.
The purpose of creating the Junior Saints is an extension of the Soapbox Team. During this year’s Soapbox it became very evident that the Soapbox was still fun but was also having a positive impact on all, but more so for children who for whatever reasons were having challenges at either school, home or both. Such challenges as behavioural, personal identity to a possible lack of male role model at home and more.
For example during the Actual Derby one of these students crashed. After the incident his teammates all rushed to him. He happily shared his experience with his Soapbox peers. Children he had little in common with. This child’s father was also very moved and surprised, after seeing this side of his son. Another student enjoyed success at the derby. The following Monday news had spread of his and the team’s success. I believe he was treated differently and might have stood a bit taller that week.
The feedback from the parents was very enlightening and humbling. They spoke of how the Soapbox experience was having a positive impact on their lives. In some cases they felt it was giving their children something to look forward to and a sense of belonging. The conversations were very revealing and satisfying. For one student it strengthened our relationship, allowing us to communicate on a more trusted level. A colleague calls on me now and again to support this child.
It was also believed that these Soapbox relationships were spilling over into school break times. Although they may not have played with each other during break times, there was recognition of each other with conversations linked to the training or racing. This may have increased their identity and connections with students who for most come from different backgrounds.
After a conversation with Luke Wilson (Constable, parent and Rotary member) about how positive things had been for some of our students, he shared his work with year 7 and 8 students from Lincoln Heights and the success he had there.
The Junior Saints would like to continue the work developed during soapbox with a monthly schedule of planned activities. Activities will vary, but the basis is fun. Building on the relationships within the group.
Other monthly activities will have a community based approach with the children giving back in either a small way or something more major. These larger ‘Giving Back’ ideas will be every 3 months(approx.). For example the first proposed major activity will be to complete the climbing frame as a functional activity. The giving back component will look at completing some work at Rutherford Primary.
The third component looks at possible career opportunities for the future in a fun non-threatening manner. Students will visit a variety of possible locations e.g. Army Base, Police Station, Fire Stations, Unitech, engineering firms etc.
With this in mind the Values and the Goals of this group are linked to values outlined by Rotary.
The experiences will;
- grow leadership
- teach our students to be thoughtful and helpful to others and the community
- Encourage the value of family and friendships
- Develop responsibility
- Obtain life skills
- Be more aware of school life
- Grow relationships that highlight a belief in each child, that trust is important and that people care about each other.
- Develop decision making.
Embedded in these experiences are the 4 points of the ‘School Mantra’.
ENGAGEMENT – CARE – ACHIEVEMENT – EXCELLENCE.
Each child will be encourage to engage (Engagement), participating in a non-judgmental environment (building trust). To be part of the group, there be links and expectations back to their learning (Achievement) driven by personal goals (not necessarily academic). Success in this programme can only occur if students are in a safe and secure environment (Care).
Driven by the above 3 points, the experiences that each will undertake, will grow them in a varieties of areas beyond their current personal standards (Excellence). Not just in an academic but more importantly, a social context.
30 May 2017
Dear Rotary members,
Hello. My name is Oliver Godding, I am 9 years of age and I go to Rutherford Primary school.
I want to say a really big thank you for sponsoring me to go to the One Big Adventure camp, in the last school holidays. I really appreciate being able to go to the camp. I had so much fun, met some cool people and learnt a lot.
I am also a member of the Rotary Saints. I also really enjoy being part of this group as well.
Once again, thank you very much for your support.
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