Last week, I visited the Children’s Parliament to see children taking part in the papier mache project. This is a fantastic project where primary aged children are brought together from schools in the east end of Glasgow to explore their aspirations, dreams and goals. The children are all from vulnerable backgrounds, and they are given the opportunity for positive engagement with adult leaders, where praise and strong social support encourages them to think about what they can do and to build their self esteem and confidence. It is a wonderful example of how early intervention can really make a difference. The children’s faces lit up when they were given messages from the leaders about positive contributions they were making within the project. The children were making papier mache models representing their dreams and aspirations and it was delightful to see them carefully construct models of footballers, boxers, dancers etc. They took real pride in the work they were doing!
I have worked with so many young people in areas of multiple deprivation whose lives have been characterised by so much chaos and despair, and many drift into crime as a coping strategy to deal with their feelings of social exclusion, oppression and marginalisation. We need projects like this that intervene early, and provide positive support to young people BEFORE they become involved in offending. Let’s hope the project continues to flourish. You can see the children at work during the day of my visit on Youtube, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwcYG-8ie7U