We’ve been using Lerner’s (2005) 5C’s of Positive Youth Development to assess how the young people are responding to the #TRASHMOB Academy sessions, both in and out of the classroom. The 5C’s (Competence, Character, Connection, Confidence and Compassion) were created to assess the impact of alternative education strategies in PRU’ and other Alternative Provision Educational establishments. It is safe to say that we are seeing continued improvement in all of these areas!
The students that originally didn’t care about littering, didn’t get on with each other and often acted out in the class room are actively picking up litter without encouragement, making new friends and contributing positively in class more than ever before. Students new to the programme are being welcomed with open arms.
After noticing that the young people were keener on shredding than trash collecting (we thought this might happen!), a competitive element was added. The student that collects the most litter now achieves #TRASHMOBSTAR of the week, gets 20 extra school points and is presented with a certificate in assembly (Its super embarrassing when Miss presents this!). It worked! The students are now just as engaged in the trash collection as the riding.
Some parents have a new-found sense of pride in their children when they come home and all they can talk about is riding and collecting trash. More of the students are not only showing that they want to come to school, but they “love coming in” according to reports from the parents to their teacher, Jo Shwe.
They’ve been able to take some ownership of the programme, spraying the TFT logo stencil onto their buckets that they use to collect trash during the sessions. This week they filled up 5 buckets, and added all of their trash info to the State of Our Trails Report – contributing to our data set, feeling like they are part of something bigger than themselves and making a real difference. Outside of #TRASHMOB Academy sessions, the young people are wanting to get involved in other community projects, and have suggested they should start cleaning up the local streets as well.
“The group are really bonding together in a positive way”, Jo says. One student was having a bit of a hard time in the last session, but another student asked Jo for her spare bottle of water and proceeded to split it between himself and the student that was struggling. He said, “That’s what friends are for!” and this was met with “we’re going to be mates for a loooong time!”. What’s even more amazing about this is that these students were arguing with each other 2 days ago, and they don’t usually get on. Since this little display of connection, character and compassion, they’ve been spending much more time together and supporting each other when they are struggling in classes. Jo has been recovering from a hand injury; one of the students noticed this and stuck with her on the sessions, making sure she was ok, and shouting back to check on her when she wasn’t close by. As a group, they have been cheering each other on during the coaching sessions, offering encouragement and advice to their peers on trickier sections. Our coach Harry might even be out of a job before long ;)
Something we didn’t expect, but love to see, is that there has been some TFT graffiti in both the bike park and the students chill out area. Could it be that these students are becoming future full blown Trashmobbers like the rest of us? Watch this space and wait and see!
As the #TRASHMOB Academy students approach their final session, the positive impact the programme is having on these young people is really starting to show. We’ve got some amazing partners to thank for this! Sprayway are the leading sponsor for the #TRASHMOB Academy, and providing waterproofs for the young people once they complete the programme so they can continue to enjoy the great outdoors. Without them this wouldn’t be possible!
Check in again next week for stories from 'graduation day'!