Heathfield Students’ Summer of Social Change

During the first week of the summer holidays, whilst many teenagers were enjoying a much-needed rest, 10 students from Heathfield Community College were up and logging on to change the world in support of the United Nations Global Goals.

Taking part of a Global Social Leaders Action Change project with, they connected with other young people across the world from China to Costa-Rica. They engaged in a 5-day online programme of experiences and interactions that educated and inspired them, to “be the change” and take on a social change project for 30- days in their own environment.

Global Social Leaders was created in 2011 by Future Foundations and Wellington Leadership Institute.  Both organisations have extensive experience, credentials and awards for their work with young people, leadership, and character building. During the programme our students developed leadership, future work skills and confidence. They were part of a global team, mixing on line every day for 5 days with young people from Nigeria, Taiwan, China, Kenya and Costa Rica among others. In seminar and lectures they were given training in leadership skills, wellbeing and sustainable development.

They benefited from coaching and support to discovering their passions, structuring a 30-day challenge which they then implemented in their locality.

These included:

  • Setting up a collection point in a local gym for Hailsham food bank
  • Litter picking in the local area over a month
  • Actively applying mental health guidance to every day
  • Making a video about animal cruelty, signposting brands that do or do not support animal welfare and raising funds for the RSPCA
  • Designing and creating a Climate Change podcast with clear guidance on action points for change

Charlotte, Alice, Lucy, Jade, Michael, Louisa, Darcey, Flo, Holly all commented on the impact the project had for them. They had swapped challenge project ideas with students in Africa concerned about the plight of the elephants, in Taiwan around mental health and suicide prevention, or the issues of over fishing in Costa Rica.

Over 300 students took part from 16 countries. Our students found it “eye opening and confidence building” to take part.

They enthused about enjoying the “shared mind” of young people and realising that no matter where they were in the world, this generation cared about their planet and about each other. They were motivated by the guest speakers to understand that little by little, collectively they can all make a difference and lead the changes they want to be and see.

To find out more about the programme see here: https://www.globalsocialleaders.com/summer-of-change-graduation/