Staying Connected

(Category: Wellbeing Initiatives)
This initiative is designed to ensure that students feel connected to their school, their friends, community, and the wider world and understand how their actions and interactions impact on their own wellbeing and that of others, in local and global contexts. 

Schools could identify local groups that the students could link with. Students, through brainstorming and discussion, would identify what kind of community service they would deem to be most valuable. Ideally, the activity would support, in some way, a group that is in their local community and the aim is to heighten awareness of the need to support others in our community, to practice the skills needed to offer practical support to such groups and to facilitate the students to give back to their local area.

This new initiative sets out a challenge to our students. All too often they are more than willing to give a hand, to get involved with many eager for the chance to be involved. They enjoy being with their friends and so together they are asked to reflect on what are the needs of their local community, to identify some aspect of the local area that could do with a hand. The teachers are asked to facilitate this reflection and support their plan of action.

The programme runs for a number of weeks before they evaluate the results of their work and it culminates with a JCSP celebration ceremony where all participants receive a certificate of participation. Those involved in groups such as Localise will receive an Active Citizenship Certificate. Such a programme is initially run over ten weeks and could act as a catalyst for further community work as groups may decide to continue working after the initial stage.

Some schools may choose to link with The Localise Community Service Learning Programme http://www.localise.ie that is a method of connecting classroom lessons with meaningful service to the community. The programme gives teachers and students a first-hand experience of learning through community service. It fits easily in a classroom setting and it enhances the teaching of JCSP, CSPE, SPHE, RE and Transition Year.

For example, a group of first year secondary school pupils studying CSPE may visit and tidy their local elderly day care centre as part of their action project' or they may decide to fundraise and make gifts and cards for local hospitals and charities. The programme benefits the school, the community and the students.


• Please enclose in your evaluation a detailed description of the activities undertaken in the running of the initiative along with any relevant photographs of the activities undertaken (no direct student photos please).
• The evaluation should be submitted online at www.jcsp.ie.