paying it forward
Now here’s exactly the kind of activity that the forthcoming Chreda Prize will be seeking to encourage… particularly in the light of the obvious spiritual motivation.
The Barnsley Chronicle announced this week that a 17-year-old children’s work volunteer – Lauren Ogley, from Oakwell, Barnsley (UK) – has been nominated for a High Sheriff award in recognition of the amazing work she does with Christian charity the Exodus Project. Lauren, who is studying child care at Barnsley College, runs three after-school children’s clubs and a Sunday school, and apparently gave up three weeks of her college holidays to run holiday clubs.
When she was younger Lauren attended the Exodus Project (which is for 8- to 11-year-olds) as a member, and on reaching 14 she signed up as a volunteer. She says: “We talk about influences on society and try to teach them the right way and to make informed choices. I enjoy meeting the children and watching them grow up.”
The project manager, Jackie Peel says Lauren is very committed, has a “caring nature”, and mentors the children despite having “heavy caring responsibilities for her siblings at home.” Her volunteer work is also credited with vastly improving the teen’s self-confidence.
What a star!
Nominations for the awards closed on 31 January and the winners will be announced on 6 March.
As most of you probably know by now, yesterday was Generosity Day (as well as Valentine’s Day). Churches, shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs in Wokingham, Berkshire, UK, celebrated by launching a new project, The Happiness Tree, which is the brainchild of The Cultural Partnership: MoreArts. Each of the participants did a good deed for a customer, then passed on a wooden baton decorated with details of the deed. Around 80-100 batons were distributed, and these will be passed around the borough, collecting details of all the good things people have done to help others. They are to be returned to Wokingham’s Information Centre (in the Town Hall) by Monday the 25th of March, after which they will be used to create a tree, due to be unveiled on Good Friday. Meanwhile, the batons’ travels are being documented via the Twitter hashtag #wokyhappytree. Proceeds are going to charity. What a lovely fundraising idea (as well as an interesting social experiment) – and one that should be copied elsewhere, I think.
The award that the Chreda Foundation is planning for late-2013/early-2014 – and to which I have already referred a number of times, here at Generosity News – has provisionally been allocated a first prize of £500. (It could be more, or less, once further planning has taken place.) The intention currently is that this would be awarded to a young person, here in the UK, who is carrying out charitable work within their community which meets certain criteria (still under discussion), and that they would then be expected to use the money to further their project, rather than spending it on themselves. This is fairly standard for award schemes, so we are pretty confident that the Chreda Prize would attract a good number of suitable entries, and that any winner (or winners) would be adequately rewarded on a personal level by the public recognition that they would receive (possibly with celebrity involvement), together with appropriate certification… maybe even a trophy, although this has yet to be decided. (Additional personal incentives are also a possibility, but this would depend on the funding available.)
So it was reassuring to read back in my archives from June this year that one young man – Tom Barwick, from Market Harborough – was inspired, on being recognised for his community work, to give back the £200 award to two local groups rather than using it for his own ends. The Lions Club awarded him a £200 Citizenship Award for his fundraising and other voluntary work, which included running an orchestra at his local Church of England Primary School. In thanking them, Tom said that he would now be able to further assist local charities to “continue their excellent work in the community”: he then promptly split his entire winnings between Market Harborough Gymnastics & Trampolining Club, and Great Bowden Recital Trust.
Tom donating to the Gymnastics & Trampolining Club. (Photo credit: Andrew Carpenter)
If a young man like Tom is willing to voluntarily forfeit his winnings in this way, I have no doubt that the kind of individuals that we are seeking to recognise with our new award will be more than content that it should be used to further whatever good works they are currently engaged in. Anything that we could do for them personally would then be a bonus.
When further details of our scheme become available, you’ll be able to read about them first, here at Generosity News.
Meanwhile… well done, Tom!
Many of you will no doubt have heard of Alice Pyne, who – having been told that the cancer she had (Hodgkin’s lymphoma) was terminal – created a ‘bucket list’ of the things she wanted to do before she died: her blog, setting out the list, quickly went viral, with millions of hits. That was in June 2011. Since then, she and her sister Milly – who are from Ulverston, Cumbria – received British Empire Medals, and Alice also became a Pride of Britain winner.
Well, Alice is now 16, and still going strong: she has become a tireless charity campaigner, and is proud of the fact that she has persuaded 40,000 people to sign the bone marrow donor register. Now, she has also launched her own charity, Alice’s Escapes. This, she says, is something that has been on her mind for quite a while, and she began to wonder whether she would ever see it come to fruition. The idea began when she and her family were treated to a week’s holiday in Devon, being looked after by the Torbay Holiday Helper’s Network, with all accommodation, food and other expenses taken care of, so that after years of treatment for her cancer, they could have a while to relax and forget all the problems. She thought it would be good to do something similar for families with seriously ill children, and so Alice’s Escapes was born. The charity, which is run by a team of volunteers, aims to give such families the opportunity to “‘escape’ and enjoy some peace and relaxation in the beautiful Lake District”.
What a lovely idea – giving holidays to very sick children, and making their lives a little happier, at least for a while. And to think what the creator of this charity has been through, herself… that makes it extra special! We wish Alice many more years with her family and friends: let’s hope that she is able to defy medical opinion and continue to live an active and fulfilled life for a long while yet. It certainly makes us think how lucky we are, and how much more we could be doing. As Alice says, “You have One Life… Live It!”
Here at Generosity News, especially in view of our close links with the Chreda Foundation, we are dedicated to highlighting the positive contributions that the modern generation makes to society. We believe that there are many young people out there whose volunteering and other altruistic efforts often go unnoticed and unrewarded. So with the announcement that the 2013 vInspired National Awards are now open we want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved and nominate young volunteers and youth workers for the recognition that they deserve. This is the UK’s biggest celebration of youth volunteering, and is an opportunity for the communities served by these philanthropic young people to thank them publicly. Nominations can be submitted up until midnight on the 2nd of November, and you can select from six categories of award:
- Best young volunteer
- All round commitment to volunteering
- Efforts to bring communities together
- Team activity
- Outstanding contribution to youth volunteering by a youth worker
- Most outstanding NCS Team
The Awards Ceremony is scheduled for the 26th of March next year, and will take place at the Roundhouse, London.
To find out more about the Awards, or to make a nomination, click here.
vInspired is a charity dedicated to “helping young people volunteer in ways that matter to them”. Launched in 2006, it has worked with more than 500 charities and community organisations, creating “over 1 million youth volunteering opportunities”. Its mission is to make helping others “a natural lifestyle choice for 14-25 year olds”. It is one of our recommended sites.