One of the key elements of the Ambassadors program is that it gives young people a chance to lead social action initiatives in their local communities. Social Action is a chance to enhance awareness, improve understanding and develop cohesion as well as giving young people a chance to demonstrate what they can achieve in their communities.
International Happiness Day http://www.dayofhappines.net/about
International Day of Happiness – Happiness Cards Scheme was created and designed by the UK Unite Ambassadors. The card can be used at any time as the benefits of being happy with yourself and making others happier are endless The card gives young people and adults a chance to talk about happiness, what makes you happy and making others happier but also a fun element for young people to complete across a week.
#Wildlife Conservation Project St Marys Graveyard Aylesbury UK. This social action brings together young people to help to regenerate and look after a wild area of land on the local graveyard. Not only will the hard work contribute to animals and wildlife but also have a impact on the look of the graveyard and for visitors.
Social Action Project #3 (Estonia)
Smiles collector – ‘Peace begins with a smile’ – Mother Teresa
Young People in Estonia are used to visitors commenting about how Estonians don’t smile and often looked stressed or serious- especially older people!
Our Ambassadors decided to collect smiles from a range of different people from across Europe by taking pictures and making drawings. They then created cards from the smiles which they took with them when they visited a Care Home for Older People. They shared the cards and talked with the older people to communicate to make them smile, make their lives little bit more positive and to bridge generations.
Fruits instead of cigarettes
Some of the Estonian Ambassadors were worried about the fact that there are still many people from their parents’ generation that smoke. As a result, they decided to carry out a social action to promote a healthier lifestyle. Their aim was to increase awareness about the harm that smoking can do and to persuade people to start with the first step towards to healthy lifestyle – to refuse to smoke and eat a fruit instead of it. During this social action the Ambassadors approached smokers in the street offering fruit in exchange for a cigarette. This social action was in two parts; the first was done in UK and the other in Estonia. The Ambassadors compared the responses to their action in different countries. They considered how ready people were to make the change and they thought about the differences between the responses and why these might have occurred.
Safer Internet Day Awareness Project #saferinternetday
Many teenagers and younger children struggle to get their use of the Internet and social media right and it causes a lot of friendship issues and upset for the girls in our school. Unite Ambassadors saw this as an opportunity to practise their communication skills and to share their values with other young people. They designed and delivered a whole school assembly and wrote to parents via email to advise about how they could have important conversations with their children. Additionally, they worked directly with groups of pupils to produce materials for a display about how to make the Internet a safer more positive place and offered to act as mentors for them going forward. #saferinternetday
Homelessness Support Campaign
Through connections with Youth Council one of our Unite Ambassadors discovered the scale of homelessness in the local community and proposed that this was something to act on. The Unite Ambassadors developed the idea to create a homeless ‘shelter’ in the playground and to launch a campaign to collect items, identified by Wycombe Homeless Connection as necessary, to help newly re-housed people get started in their accommodation. They worked with Senior Managers in the school to establish the campaign for pupils and parents. They also designed leaflets which were placed on the community bus to involve the wider community. Meanwhile they worked with staff from Wycombe Homeless Connection (http://www.wyhoc.org.uk) to increase their understanding of the problem so that they could raise awareness on the day. A local supermarket also got involved by lending a shopping trolley to collect all the donations. The campaign was very successful as the trolley was filled and many people improved their understanding of what it means to be homeless. They made good use of social media to blog about this social action and practiced their communication and leadership skills.
Social Action Project #7 (Hungary)
Mug Day (Bögre nap)
Unite Ambassadors from Kecskemét, Hungary decided to make a public awareness campaign about a current issue; the non-reusable coffee mugs and tea cups made of plastic and paper. Our Unite Ambassadors were keen to tell their peers and adults how there are simple ways to make our lives more environmentally friendly. The young participants handed over teabags and hot water in cold winter time for those who brought along their mugs and were interested in learning more about their campaign. Beneficiaries of the action were all people who passed or appeared the main square of the town. A few hours later even those who had not attended the event had the chance to see online the photos taken and hopefully started thinking how to change their everyday habit of drinking from single use paper and plastic cups. Through this simple social action many people gave been encouraged to think about the environmental impact of their actions.
Social Action Project #8 (Estonia)
IVKHK Charity Lottery
It is important to notice those around us who need more help and support than ourselves. Our Ambassadors wanted to develop opportunities for disabled children. Their project helped them develop their organisational and leadership skills.
In cooperation with social organisations of Sillamäe town our Unite Ambassadors prepared a charity lottery. The gifts for the lottery were made in workshops for people with physical disabilities. The lottery was organised as part of a Christmas event in the town and it was continued for a further 2 weeks by the Sillamäe Museum. Our Ambassadors also prepared some of the workshops for children to raise awareness and involve more people.
Over 100 people participated in the project and our Ambassadors collected 253 euros. All of the money collected was donated to a local organisation (“Hea hoog”) that supports disabled people in Sillamäe. The money went towards the purchase of toys and learning games for disabled children of Sillamäe.
Online campaigning (Võhma Vaba Aja Keskus)
Young people created online campaigns to promote issues important to them. They created images and slogans for each issue. They were keen to promote individual responsibility in relation to issues such as littering by increasing awareness of where rubbish bins are located and by adding more bins in residential areas. Other campaigns included planting trees to stop deforestation and holding discussions with teachers about what inspires students to achieve academic success.
The campaign images and slogans were shared on local Facebook pages and in newspapers or other outlets. The method of dissemination was selected in response to the particular target group.
Physical exercises in a break time at school (Kanepi )
Movement and exercise routines are crucial if we are to live a healthy life, therefore students from our school decided to carry out movement breaks at school for the younger students. Students planned and worked out different kinds of physical exercise which also contained a competitive element making the activity more interesting for the younger students. All the movement breaks were outdoor activities. The project lasted month and a half with activities taking place every week. The younger students enjoyed this new dimension that was added to their breaks and have become more aware about how to achieve healthy lifestyles.
Social Action Project #11 (Estonia)
Experience cinema (Võhma Vaba Aja Keskus)
Our Ambassadors wanted to increase awareness of the needs of disabled people. In response they organised a movie night with a difference. The young people that attended had to get in to the room using a wheelchair, watch a short movie and play games blindfolded or without sound. The aim of the evening was to raise awareness of difficulties people can face in everyday life and test their senses.