Following the success of our kid’s book, Teach Your Granny to Text and Other Ways to Change the World we wanted to take the brilliant ideas, assets and statistics created and collated when making the book, directly into schools and communities, working with young people to get them to engage with the content more deeply.
We were also keen to create a programme that bridged the gap between older and younger students, and equip all the students involved in core transferable skills.
We conceived of the Young Speaker’s Programme, in which we trained Sixth Form students in two keys areas: public speaking skills and an understanding of the role an individual can play in effecting major social and environmental issues.
These students then acted as ambassadors, going into primary schools in their areas, giving presentations, school assemblies and running classroom sessions with younger students, inspiring them to use their everyday actions to make a positive impact.
The programme was thus of benefit to two audiences: the Sixth Former who gained invaluable training and practice in public speaking skills, plus an improved knowledge of the wider impact of their own behaviour on global issues such as sustainability, pollution, inclusion and healthy lifestyles; and secondly to the primary school students, who were shown positive, articulate, passionate and considerate role models, as well an introduction to the social and environmental issues.
We worked with over 200 young people, from 15 different Sixth Form colleges in Bolton, Blackburn, Darwen, Liverpool, St Helen’s, Manchester, Macclesfield, Newham, Wakefield, Redbridge, Hackney, and South London.
The students talked to around 250,000 primary school students.
A group of 20 Young Speakers also developed an interactive play and performed it with workshops in schools across London.
The Programme was delivered in partnership with TimeBank and funded by the Aldridge Foundation and national youth volunteering agency, v.
- Over 200 young people took part in the Young Speakers programme.
- They did over 600 presentations.
- They spoke to around 250,000 primary school students.
I’m part of We Are What We Do [Young Speakers] as I know, as a teen, I respond to what other people in my own age group tell me, rather than an adult telling me, and I intend to inspire a lot of young people to do the small things, that can make a big change.
Jordan, 17, Young Speaker
When I visited St Anthony’s Primary School in Forest Gate, East London I chose the action Make someone smile to talk about. It was a bit daunting at first to stand up in a room full of people. But it got easier.
Anthony Opoku, 17, Young Speaker
Being a young speaker means a lot to me, but the most important thing is that I can give younger generations someone to look up to.
Jodie, Young Speaker
I’ve never been the most confident person, but this Young Speakers programme that I realised my potential as a public speaker.
Sharon, Young Speaker
The whole idea of small actions is a great idea. It’s such a simple philosophy (that I don’t think I’d ever heard of), and It’s a bit different to getting involved in a charity and making money. This could do so much more.
All the problems that are going on in the world, seem so much more real now.
The training was fab, and I was so inspired and eager to get on with my first presentation that I went to my school today and did mine in front of 70 year 6’s.
Charmaine, Young Speaker
On the estate where the majority of our pupils live, there is limited access to positive role models. The Young Speakers programme gives our pupils access to excellent, positive role models from similar backgrounds, while delivering an extremely powerful message about the difference individual children can make to the world around them.
Paul Jackson, Head Teacher of Gallions Primary School in East London
I have been impressed by We Are What We Do’s innovative approach to creating social change. No other organisation has tackled the need for a change in attitude in such a way – the concept of “small actions x lots of people means big change” empowers us all with the ability to make a difference. Through the Young Speakers Programme, We Are What We Do is demonstrating that even a young child has the power to effect change.
Rodney Aldridge OBE