YSI Centres of Social Innovators Programme
The Centres of Social Innovators Programme aims to help develop a whole centre approach to social innovation education with two particular aims in mind:
1. to provide more young people opportunities to get involved in volunteering, in civic action, community service and in social innovation; &
2. to support educators in creating environments which make this possible within their own school or organisation.
A pilot programme ran from 2008-2011 involving up to 20 schools/organisations that tested out various models, methodologies and practices. The learning from this has directly fed the design of this new framework.
A Social Innovation framework for action.
YSI has developed and tested a social innovation framework which is adopted and used in Centres of Social Innovators:
• First, young people find out and explore what social issues people in their Centre really care about;
• Then they mobilise and motivate teams and others in their community to co-operate to make real change happen through action projects;
• Throughout the year, they provide different ways for people to communicate about the work as a way to raise awareness, recruit volunteers, celebrate achievements and continue to fire young people’s passion to change the world for good!
The framework is underpinned by YSI’s key principles:
• Innovation: creativity, thinking and action
• Empowerment: everyone has a say and can get involved in the work
• Respect: for all
• Experiential learning: learning by doing, youth-led action
• Human rights: fairness, justice and equality
Growing and learning as Social Innovators
Throughout their time in second level education, a Centre creates new opportunities for all young people to get involved in civic action and to grow and learn as Social Innovators. Working in youth led teams, young people take action on social issues of interest to them - from environment to health, from human rights to older people in their community. Using the simple social innovation framework - the 4 C’s - young people can participate in civic action and community service throughout their time in school and in the years beyond. Along the way, they learn new skills, gain a deeper understanding of social issues and achieve greater confidence in their own capacity to make a difference in the world around them.