Author: Jen Wall, Education Consultant and Researcher
Staff from the careers, pastoral and teaching teams in Stocksbridge High School, Sheffield, saw the potential of NEMESIS to offer enrichment to their children as an afternoon club. The project has come on in leaps and bounds since I first advertised NEMESIS to Year 8 (12-13 year old) children in assembly. The children were interested but initially unsure. However, after a few Co-creation Labs, activities on social innovation and ‘how to spot a local issue’, the group took part in an OPERA, a key NEMESIS co-creation activity. During their OPERA, they came up with their project idea – a group to support secondary school children’s social, emotional or mental health through socialising. This idea is something important to these young people, as noted by one of the project student leaders:
“This isn’t about us, this is about your future.
We started this group as a way to help the youth of today’s society (people like us) with communication towards others and to help them understand they aren’t alone. This group was created by young bright-minded students who had hope for things involving mental health and knew there was a way to lower the loss of young people to it. I know there is more we can do but I’m hoping and praying that this group at least makes one or more people smile and helps them realise they have so many people to talk to. Just know you aren’t alone and are worth so much more than what the world gives you.” – Aimee, Year 8 student
‘Candlelight Community Centre’
The group chose the name Candlelight Community Centre, with the idea that young people can come to a safe space to socialise, belong and have fun. If they want, they also have the option of talking to the student leaders one-to-one. The student leaders are getting parents involved to bring, and help with, board games to help people relax and get to know each other. Caleb, a student leader in the project, spoke to me about their plans:
Jen: What are you doing in the project?
Caleb: In the project we’re helping kids get more confident because a lot of kids aren’t getting involved in anything.
Jen: How are you going to help kids get more confident?
Caleb: By playing games and talking to people.
They’re planning to advertise the Community Centre in assemblies and are excited about the first session on March 5th.
Candlelight Community Centre student leaders practising for assembly.
An evolving project
One student reflected on how the project’s changed over time:
“I find that our nemesis project will help many people. It started out small but then we started to come up [with] good ideas and found one we all thought was good. We put our minds to it and devised a good plan. It will not only help others but it also help[s] the members who created the new mental-health support club (candlelight) learn to work as a team and we have also made lots of friends. I entered the project to help people and have helped myself with confidence at the same time.” – George, Year 8 Student
George’s Traffic Light map to identify good, not so good and problem local areas
Working together to build confidence
Miss Plaskitt, who is enthusiastically supporting the project, commented that “the students have really got into the project and are so excited to get the ball rolling with their ideas. It has been great to see these students getting involved with this project and working together really well.” She noted that it was wonderful to see a different side to students as they get enthusiastic about something they’re interested in.
“I think that Nemesis is going to provide a great opportunity [to] help people in our school that struggle to make friends or even just socialise. This could help people to gain the confidence then be able to socialise and build up a friendship with the people that may attend.” – Tyler, Year 8 Student
I for one have been really drawn in by the enthusiasm and proactiveness of the students and am really looking forward to the first session!
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