A GROUP of transition year students from Scoil Phobail Bhéara in Castletownbere have launched a project to highlight the positive impact a good role model can have. Over the coming months, the students plan to highlight and educate people on what is a role model, the benefits of having a good role model as well as investigating the pressure on role models.
The group will be submitting their project to the Young Social Innovator programme, an Irish non-profit organisation which empowers young people to use their talents and creativity to come up with innovative solutions to social challenges.
Marie Murphy, the school chaplain, who is overseeing the project with the group, said they originally came up with the idea as many felt that the power of some social media influencers who may claim to be role models can have a negative impact on young people’s lives.
‘Some members of the group said they have never had a role model in their lives, and from working on this project, they’ve now come to the realisation that they can also be role models and have a positive influence on someone else’s life,’ she said.
The 32 students will undertake a number of tasks which will include interviewing people they feel are role models and inviting them to address a showcase event which will include transition year students from other schools in West Cork.
The group will also write and publish a children’s story book on role models and produce a primary school pack for teachers with lesson plans on the theme which will feature activities across all subjects on the primary school curriculum.
The group are also creating an interactive wall in the school which will feature a different positive role model each week.
The students have designed the wall so that is inclusive and accessible to all the school community.
They are also designing a board game based on the qualities they feel makes a good role model, and as a means to encourage people to interact with each other as opposed to being online.
The school has a strong track record in the Young Social Innovator programme, which Marie says enables the students work on their own initiative, ‘the programme enables students to develop skills outside the school curriculum.’
The group will now take their submit their project to Dragons’ Den in a bid to secure funding to publish their book and will go forward to the first stage Young Social Innovators awards in March.