The students who volunteered as ‘Heroes’ for the recent humanutopia workshops found the experience very worthwhile with some now even considering careers in youth work. A total of 43 young people from Years 9 and 10 received ‘hero’ training that enabled them to lead small groups of students in subsequent workshops. The long-term aim is for them to keep in touch with their designated students and form a strong support network to help with issues such as bullying and self-esteem.
The 43 heroes worked with students from Year 7 and 8. Their contribution was praised by humanutopia and Vice Principal Mr Strickland. He told them: ‘You have been absolutely brilliant this week. If you don’t believe the positivity that you have created come and look at some of the emails that I have received from parents saying the work that humanutopia and Heroes have done has been phenomenal.’
Afterwards some of the students gave feedback:
George Owen said: ‘It was a very good experience for me to go through with the Year 7s and Year 8s to help make their lives a little better. It was hard-hitting. I have learned that not everybody’s life is perfect. Anyone can go through bullying at any stage of their life.’
Andrea Lupton said: ‘Working with the younger students was a lot harder than I thought because I didn’t think their stories would be so empowering. A few of the stories just made me so upset and I was so proud of the people who apologised for their previous behaviour.’
Katie Rance said: ‘I chose to volunteer because it is really important to help younger people with what is going on in life like bullying and having a positive image of themselves. This week has been really inspiring, hearing what they have to say and, even though they are so young, they have got great huge ambitions.’
Seth Goddard said: ‘The highlight was definitely hearing about the young people’s dreams as they have such huge and wonderful aspirations, it was eye opening. These children were unique with their different stories. It was easy to empathise with them and I will keep in touch with the groups that I worked with.’
Amy Wallace said: ‘I learned that as long as you’re happy then your image doesn’t matter and it is important just to be yourself. It has been hard work because some people found it difficult to talk to us and open up because of what they have been through but it has been really rewarding.
Shannon Panter said: ‘ When we were doing our training I thought it was going to be so easy but hearing what the Year 7s had been through I found it really hard because they challenged me and challenged who I was as a person. I am always going to be there for those who worked in our group. Today they saw a different side to me. It changes you and it was nerve-racking standing up and talking in front of a room full of people.’
Peter Bates said: ‘I volunteered because I jump at most opportunities and I realised this training can help with my leadership and speaking skills. At the beginning of the week I was really scared to stand up, it was really intimidating. Today when I was with the Year 7s I stood up and said something and it was only then that I realised I was speaking to a good 100 people without fear so I have progressed a lot. This training has helped me far more than I thought. I enjoyed working with the younger students and when I am older I would like to work with humanutopia.’