This week, we’ll be putting the spotlight on our work in secondary schools. Our Community Champions are based in local secondaries to support Southampton's students, working with the same kids day-in day-out to create sustained change.
"He has given me the power to show myself I am different, but I am normal."
This is what Community Champions is all about – engaging with pupils that find the traditional classroom environment challenging. Education isn't a one size fits all model; our team are based in their dedicated secondary school four days a week to provide a different kind of support for young people, helping them to form positive relationships with their peers, teachers and families.
53% of young people improved their emotional wellbeing through the programme.
There's lots of ways our Community Champions provide their support. One-on-one mentoring is important in breaking down barriers with hard-to-reach students and around 1 in 4 of our participants say that if they had a problem in life, their Community Champion is their first port of call to ask for help.
We use these interventions to bolster confidence and self-esteem; to give young people strategies for coping in a classroom setting; and exploring pathways for the future, finding the right fit for the individual.
29% of young people improved their attitude towards learning through taking part in the programme.
In some of our schools, we're helping young people work towards qualifications such as the Prince's Trust awards, giving them further strings to their bow when the time comes to enter the world of work. That includes giving them experiences outside of school, such as volunteering at our Saints Kicks sessions or coming to St Mary's to see behind the scenes at the football club. We want to prepare our young people to be active, engaged members of their community.
"I'm finding school so much easier now. They have shown me ways to cope with my behaviour and feelings so that I can regulate myself."
Changing mindsets. Building confidence. Championing change. That's what this programme is all about. And we need more people to deliver that mission.
We're expanding our support to even more schools across Southampton and need passionate, driven people to work on the programme. Could this be your calling?