Written by Cara Hasam
When someone hears the term “citizen service” it is often associated with small changes and limited influences as opposed to grand, philanthropic victories for the good of mankind, or deep, personal realisations. As a student who has participated in the National Citizen Service program, I challenge that assumption. Although the program was labelled a “waste of half term” by some, it intrigued me and a couple of my peers. It showcased the idea of pushing yourself, challenging your preexisting ideas about people and working as a team, about what you are physically and emotionally capable of.
Part of NCS is the social action project that each group organises after the weekend of bonding and adventure, where we all settle down around a table and discuss how we as teenagers could impact our local area, and what needs addressing. It was truly amazing to see students that you wouldn’t expect to be so passionate about social injustice just come alive with determination and frustration about issues like homelessness, teen mental health, the danger of underage drinking, and others.
My group decided that our social action project was going to focus on societal stereotypes and the abuse and ignorance that comes with it. I have truly been inspired and moved by this experience, as I have worked with people I never would have met otherwise and been able to listen to them talk about what means something to them whilst getting to know them as my second family and not just other teenagers.
[shown above] Team Bognor Massive painting the official group banner outside of the Phoenix Centre at the Regis School.
The project itself will take place in various places around Bognor, with our group wearing signs with the immediate assumptions people have made about them on the front, and on the back a list of real (and mostly unexpected) attributes about them to challenge and confront the idea of social profiling and judgement in the area.