The RNLI – the charity that saves lives at sea

Paul's Iphone 1252

The other crisp Sunday morning we had the great fortune to time our weekly promenade walk with the routine training exercise of the volunteer RNLI team in St. Annes. There are 237 lifeboat stations around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland and 346 operational lifeboats covering 19,000 miles of coastline.  It was fascinating and inspiring to see these committed men converge in their own free time on a Sunday morning and in a disciplined manner prepare and launch such an impressive safety vessel.

Paul's Iphone 1259

I was surprised not more people were there to watch the lifeboat being lowered down onto the St. Annes sands and towed out towards the Ribble estuary.  I guess in many ways it summed up nicely what the RNLI is all about though, focused on the cause and with little fuss.  These men did not crave limelight or financial reward, it was obvious that they were doing something that they believed in and as Darren, one of the crew said to me: ‘the best thing about volunteering is being part of a team of people who don’t want to let anyone down.’

Paul's Iphone 1264

Without their volunteers the RNLI could not save lives at sea.  These volunteers account for 4600 crew members, 3000 shore crew and station management, and 150 volunteer lifeguards.  There are also tens of thousands of other volunteers that raise vital funds, awareness and give safety advice for the RNLI.  In 2012, the RNLI made 8346 launches of which 3120 were in darkness.

This resulted in 7964 people being rescued at an average of 22 people per day.  328 lives were saved.

Paul's Iphone 1265

 

As I read more about the RNLI and in particular the St. Annes station and crew I noticed a phone number at the bottom of one of the information posters.  Next to the number was a name and a notice to contact him if anyone was interested in volunteering for the station and crew.  I took a photo of the notice on my phone for future reference and turned to my kids and said: ‘I know what my next Global Citizenship Award target is going to be…’

Advertisements

When 1000 pieces all come together

1000 piece festive jigsaw - who would do that?

1000 piece festive jigsaw – who would do that?

Jigsaws were not at the top of my ‘must do activity list’ on returning back to the UK. Mother has always insisted on a family jigsaw around Christmas time and for some reason brought one up with her when visiting our new house last month.  I did have to question why she thought it a necessity to pack a jigsaw, and the specially tailored homemade plywood board for doing jigsaws on, and impose it on us when we are just settling in to a new routine and way of life and trying really hard to de-clutter.  I acknowledged it and quickly tucked it to one side in the back room with other boxes and items that could be forgotten about for the time being.

A long way still to go...

A long way still to go…

The festive jigsaw didn’t stay tucked away for long though as over the weekend of her visit she persuaded me to open it up suggesting “it would be a nice family activity to do over the Christmas period.”  So we plonked the plywood jigsaw board in the middle of the living room carpet and opened the musty box of 1000 intricate pieces of cardboard and started looking for the edges.  Both my older kids asked “why are we looking for edges dad?” both thinking they would start putting together the big santa being the main feature in the middle of the puzzle.  I explained carefully the importance of a patient approach to jigsaws like this one and forming the perimeter or boundaries of the picture first before constructing the images in the centre – “we need to no what we are working with and where our limits are.”  I gave them the challenge to look for the four corners and they eagerly set about searching for them as if it was a festive Christmas dip.

Pieces everywhere!

Pieces everywhere!

The thing with jigsaws is that they take time to get going.  You have to be resilient and focused to get beyond the early stages of locating corners and edges and sorting similar colours, shades and patterns.  It can be a lonely affair in those early stages with no sign of a successful completion in sight.  It is always better if you can recruit a team of jigsaw helpers and all agree on a role for each other – delegating specific shades and patterns to be found, distributing personalised collection and sorting (Tupperware) boxes for maximum effect and ownership.  This organised and strategic approach is key to jigsaw teamwork and avoiding the ultimate chaos and predictable disaster of vigilante jigsaw building when every one is in it for themselves and not thinking big picture.

Satisfaction

Satisfaction

There is an addictive satisfaction to that click of a jigsaw piece slotting neatly into place.  In the box a midst hundreds of other coloured pieces a single piece is lost and has no sense of place and is easily overlooked as multiple hands rake through the box on their own agenda.  The picture on the front becomes key, this is your guide – the code to success, the plan that enables you to focus on what you are trying to achieve.  It also gives you the confidence to know what unique pattern is required to make the selection of other shades and colours complete and form the picture you have been working on.  Even though it looks nothing like it in the box each piece plays a key role and you must put in the time to look for the right one and find it.  Clicking pieces into place is a satisfying process and encourages you to continue doing it (long into the night!) – and before you know it you have 1000 little pieces all coming together and the picture is clear.

Project Nepal – a personal service learning initiative

Post contributed by Manoj Chapagain

Service Learning

Service Learning

Whilst I was at secondary school in Thailand I always wanted to do something that would help my village community in Nepal. During my last year of my high school, I asked some of my friends and teachers to help me raise money to buy computers for my village school where I studied during my childhood. We called this project “Project Nepal.”  This started August of 2013.

 

Joyce centre, Manoj far right

Joyce centre, Manoj far right

My friend Joyce and some other friends encouraged me and were willing to support me fully. We started doing fund raising events such as a dodge ball tournament, a computer game tournament and many other events at the school. In addition my friend Joyce who helped me enormously to raise money by asking her friends back in Taiwan to donate money to the project. She has contributed the most to this project.  All together we raised $3400. Furthermore, Mr. Alex (a friend of Peter Dalglish’s in Bangkok and my friend too) contributed approximately $500 to the project, totaling up to 364250 NPR.

The Project Nepal team

The Project Nepal team

The school already had a room that needed painting, carpeting, a fan and many other things.  When I got back to Nepal in the summer I went to the village and started overseeing this. Now the room has 7 computers from Project Nepal and another five computers which were donated to the school by a cement factory. The installation for internet is still in the process.

P Nepal7

Five students and two teachers visited the school for a week to see the school and set up the computer lab. They stayed in my village in my home for two nights and it was amazing to see my friends in my village and for them to experience a little bit of the village life. Everyday we used to walk to the school where my friends played games, interact and teach English to the school kids.

P Nepal

It was fantastic for me to see students from my school interacting with kids in my village. It felt great because I was part of the village school during my childhood and then I also became a part of my new school’s family. It almost felt like joining two families together.

 

P Nepal1

This is the first Project Nepal “PROJECT” and it was successful. I was really pleased with our work and of course the credit goes to everyone. When I go back to Nepal I will check how much progress they have made and if any change has come to the school for the students.  I also hope to do many other projects in Nepal with and for the Nepalese people.

To read more posts about Manoj please click here.

The GC Award team gains two new members

We are delighted to welcome Karen and Katrin (both Global Mentors) to the Global Citizenship Award team.  They will be contributing to the website and the development of the Global Citizenship Award. To see the biographies of the two newest members of the GC Award team please click here.

Katiphoto

Remember that you too can contribute to the website at anytime and at the same time work towards your own Global Citizenship Award – just choose an Identity, set a challenging target, write up your reflection and then submit it here.

The Michigan Difference

Contributed by Brittany Tang

Michigan

After spending three weeks at the University of Michigan, I am starting to feel the energy in the air, the buzz of academia, the passion and excitement of being part of what is essentially a small city. The first week I dipped my toes into the academic pool of my classes. I got used to what was expected of me and how to succeed. After I felt sufficiently settled and comfortable with my studies I started searching for leadership positions and community service based clubs to join.

I ran for and was elected President of the Events Planning Committee (EPC) for the HSSP (Health Sciences Scholar’s Program) community. As the President, I help facilitate weekly EPC meetings, I design agendas and communicate with the representatives from each HSSP committee. I am also a member of the HSSP Community Service Committee. Myself, along with others in the committee plan service endeavors for the HSSP community: volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House for families with children in critical condition, volunteering at Indian Trails Camp for children and adults with disabilities, ect. I recently received an email from a 4th year MD PhD student who is working to establish an NGO to help provide health care for people in Uganda. A group of  students including myself, will be establishing a sister program for the undergraduate school to raise awareness for the NGO Progressive Health Partnership (PHP) as well as raise some funds. The link to the project is as follows: Progressive Health Partnership | People Helping People. I am also part of an organization called the VIEW (Volunteers Involved Every Week).  The mission of this organization is to “empower students to become educated leaders and create social change in partnership with local organizations and communities”. This club in particular, stood out to me because of its emphasis on global citizenship and community service. I am very excited to be part of the team!

Finally, from a more academic point of view this past week has been extremely busy because I am in the process of searching for undergraduate research opportunities. I sent out multiple applications for multiple research projects and I have had lots of very educational interviews. I am really enjoying the entire process of finding a project I am interested in researching to securing a place on the research team. I have yet to commit to a particular project, at the moment, however by next week I will have my research position. Overall, I think the most important thing to remember is that balance is so incredibly important. Attending university has really challenged me in a positive way and has allowed me to grow into the individual I endeavor to be. I hope to continue down this path of leadership, service, academia and research and I am very excited to see how this first year turns out!

To read more posts by Brittany please click here.

Finding the leader in you

This is the story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.   Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have. (Author unknown)

Leading by example

Leading by example

What type of leader are you?  Leadership lessons from dancing guy.

I strongly believe that there is a leader in everyone and that as a teacher it is my role to help young people (and my colleagues) discover what type of leader they are and what skills and values they bring to the learning environment and team.

“A good leader, when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say, ‘We did this ourselves.’”  Lao Tse

It is wrong to assume that a leader always leads from the front, is bold and confident – gives directions and delegates tasks.  Leadership is about inclusion and bringing the best out in everyone, achieving success for the common good.  By doing this we must look to go out of our comfort zones and also encourage others to do the same – but always remembering that each persons comfort zone is very different to others.  This is what the Global Citizenship Award is all about, helping people leave their comfort zones and discovering who they are and what types of leader through global citizenship you can be in the world today and also in the future.  We all have a role to play and can contribute in many different ways.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.  It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”  Charles Darwin

Amit delivers the opening address at the We Walk Together conference

Amit delivers the opening address at the We Walk Together conference

Don’t become a slave to social momentum, don’t be someone that seeks comfort over change.  Try something new everyday, speak to somebody new everyday, challenge yourself to be different and find the leader in you.

Think about the opportunities and possibilities instead of the challenges and problems.

If you change your thinking, you will change your actions!