If you can use your strengths in the service of something greater than yourself, many psychologists will tell you that this is a key predictor of wellbeing. They refer to it as having a sense of purpose or meaning.
Recently I’ve been working with schools to push their thinking in this regard.
What if schools were a place where kids learnt how to make a difference?
This has always underpinned my teaching philosophy, and it always excites me when I hear of former students who have taken this attitude with them into their adult life.
Genevieve Radnan is a former student of mine, who – instead of taking a gap year to party in Europe – decided to spend her time in Africa.
Her experience there inspired her on to great things. In particular she has worked with the Karunga community in Kenya.
Despite only just turning 22, Genevieve has already:
* Project managed the building of a kindergarten,
* Provided facilities for an orphanage
* Built from scratch, staffed and resourced a women’s education and training centre.
She has recently established her own charity: Gennarosity Abroad
Her story will be aired on TVS’ Models Of Achievement in August.
But she would like to share more about her experience with young people who are about to leave school as there could be so much more to a GAP year than partying in Europe! She will be speaking at a public Sydney showing of Models of Achievement on Monday 6th August at Emanuel School in Randwick, NSW.
Several travel agencies will be coming on the night to promote available volunteering programs for anyone interested especially targeting those who are about to have a GAP year.
It only costs $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Doors open at 6.45pm And you can buy tickets online at http://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=57142
Genevieve would love it if local schools could encourage students to attend, or if you’re not in Sydney, use her story to inspire your older students. You can contact her through her charity’s website.
Meaning… purpose… wellbeing.
Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars. He is the co-developer of Happy Schools and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at@danhaesler