On Friday 22nd June RCG was awarded £3000 from the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) – all thanks to the hard work put forward by a very special group of 4th year students at The Robert Gordon College in Aberdeen.
The Youth Philanthropy Initiative is a program aimed to raise awareness amongst young people of philanthropy and their local community. Participating schools in Scotland divide their students into groups, each representing a third sector organisation of the student’s choice. After researching and meeting with their chosen charity, student groups present at the end of the week-long project with the chance to win a £3000 grant for their chosen cause.
Personally, we think this is a great idea!
Students Shavena, Alex, Ritika, Cameron , Jack and Hayley from the Robert Gordon’s College came in to visit us on Crown Street to learn more about RCG first hand – and left with armfuls of anti-spike drink stoppers, banners and lots of inspiration too it seemed.
Sitting with the team on Friday before they went on stage to present in Round 1, I asked if they were nervous:
“Maybe a little bit, but not really to be honest. We’ve worked really hard this week.”
And they were right! That really came through when the group got up and started talking.
One of the first points they made, and probably one of the most important points was that sexual abuse and/or assault is still very much a taboo subject and unfortunately, the fact that we find it so difficult to talk about is one of the reasons it’s still so prevalent in our society today.
Very correctly, they pointed out that sexual abuse is an act in defiance of the UN human rights convention and therefore is a serious crime. The group showed a very emotive video discussing the typical ‘freeze’ reaction many survivors experience, they spoke about the repercussions for survivors in the aftermath and they revealed some shocking statistics which really drove home the reality of this issue in our society. When they read out that 1 in 3 girls teenage girls experience unwanted sexual contact at least once in their lifetime and 27 out of 81 girls in the audience stood up to reflect that statistic… that was a very hard hitting truth.
Despite only being in their 4th year at secondary school, the students showed a level of maturity far beyond their years and were incredibly respectful in discussing such a sensitive subject. So much so that when it came to announcing the winners, one of the first compliments given by the judges about the winning group was something to that affect.
Of course we are a little biased because this group chose to represent us, but we really do mean it when we say that this group was something special. When chatting to them, you could sense their authenticity. Even their teacher said he hadn’t pushed them to work, they were self driven and really worked on their own initiative. To be honest- we’re completely honoured to have had such a fantastic group of student’s representing us.
When it came to the final and the winner – our group/RCG – was announced, it was hard not to find a tear well in the corner of my eye! It was clear the students had gone above and beyond to try and win the £3000 grant for RCG and their work paid off. There is so much that we can do at RCG with £3000. Literally that figure has the capacity to directly change people’s lives and it’s incredibly touching to remember that all that possibility is a direct result of the time and effort of Shavena, Alex, Ritika, Cameron , Jack and Hayley put in.
To the six of you – there aren’t enough thank you’s in the world! I can already see that you are destined for something great. Each of you demonstrated qualities that are unique and special and I am certain will lead you to wonderful places in your futures.
So before I finish up this post, I’ll say one last thing. One of the groups showed a quote which I thought was very relevant for the whole day’s activities and even more broadly speaking too. Never forget your potential to make a difference!
“Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water – it will make ripples throughout the entire pond.” Jessy and Bryan Matteo