The Citizenship for Life programme for 2013/14 has now finally ended with a gala event to celebrate the success of the programme. It has been a year of blood, sweat and the occasional tears for two groups of 12 students and 12 mentors. The year has gone at a blistering pace and started for the Mullion, Falmouth and Penryn Schools (Newquay was the other group) with a visit to RNAS Culdrose. It has gone by in a flash, and it only seems a month or two ago when it all started.
Having helped behind the scenes previous years, this year programme I become a mentor to a lad named Jake. When I look back and think of how it all started, and then finally seeing Jake stand up in a room full of people and give a presentation, you really understand how far these students come on the journey. It is not only the students who gain from this programme, but there is not one mentor who has not learned something too. The mentors were drawn from all walks of life – from the Royal Navy and RAF, to lawyers, architects, PCSO, teachers and business owners to name just a few of the professions of the mentors.
The programme is challenging, emotive and fun. It is meant to be this way to put the students out of their comfort zone. For many, this was the first time they had flown, and visited the capital. Other visits included a visit to the homeless charity Emmaus and a residential care home. In which the students talked to the residents and gained a greater understand on what it is like to be an older person. All the visits and talks not only got the students to think about the wider world, but the mentors too.
During the gala event we heard from all the students. In many of the student presentation there was not a dry eye in sight. I know I was very proud of Jake and how he has learnt from the programme which will stand him in good stead for what ever path his chooses. A huge thanks should go to everyone involved as without them, this programme would not be the success it is.
Lastly, I will mention the sponsors of the event. The whole programme is made possible by business support. There are not grants from the Council, just officers time. So without the sponsors – it costs roughly £2k per student – this programme would not happen. So a huge thank you to this years main sponsors of Ocean Housing and Classic Cottages.