Swedish design company IKEA runs a Soft Toys For Education campaign. They make soft toys and donate some of the profits to Unicef’s education projects. Last year IKEA invited children all over the world to enter a competition to draw their own designs for a soft toy. The company then chose 10 of the designs and made them into actual soft toys. Talk about taking something from a child’s imagination and making it real! Click on the picture below to watch a short clip about the project.
School prizegivings are like that. They show us a small picture of what achievement looks like. An idea that began in a parent’s imagination and in a young person’s imagination and in a teacher’s imagination … is made real in the young person embraced by ula lole (lolly necklaces). What a positive experience!
The guest speaker at our school (Tangaroa College) prizegiving this year was Dr Mataroria Lyndon. Mataroria attended our school ten years ago and has gone on to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor. Next year he’s going to Harvard University in America to complete further study.
Role models are really important, partly because they help us believe that things we imagine, can be real. When our young people see people who look like them, who come from the same situations as them achieving their dreams it helps make it real for them, encourages them to believe they can do it too.
Associate Professor Donna Rose Addis is a Samoan Neuroscientist based at Auckland University. Donna says a teacher at her school Aorere College, encouraged her to go to University, even though no one from her family had done that before. ‘She told me a lot about university,’ Donna says. ‘She made it look real to me, like a pathway I could take.’ Now Donna makes the pathway look real to young people herself.
I was in Christchurch earlier this year and saw how much damage the 2010-11 earthquakes caused. Everywhere you look you see scaffolding, temporary fences, smashed windows, cones … rubble. If you live in Christchurch these are images you see every day.
But all around the city I also saw murals, paintings and artists impressions of what the city will look like in the future. The visuals give the people hope that the rubble they see is not the way their city is going to stay. The images help the people visualise what’s coming and give them hope and inspiration.
Many of the young people we work with see only “rubble” every day. Images are powerful. Let’s keep giving the young people in our lives images and stories that inspire them and give them hope, that make exciting pathways look real to them.
“Live out of your imagination, not your history.” Stephen Covey