On December 5th 2016, I went volunteering for the first time with Street Law. This is a pro bono, outreach programme with the goal of teaching young people about their legal rights and responsibilities within the community, while encouraging them to attend Higher Education.
I was with four other people, and we took a 30 minute road trip to Fakenham Academy. We got to meet Year 9 students, where we introduced ourselves and our designated spokesperson talked about life at university, particularly what it was like doing a Law degree.
We proceeded to do a law quiz about internet safety, so we split the class into groups and gave each one some answer cards. A question was asked (e.g. How old do you have to be to have a Facebook account?) with a choice of answers on the screen. Their task was to discuss which answer was correct and to hold up the finalised group response, explaining why they reached their conclusions.
Another activity we did with the Year 9 students was a ‘match-up’ game. Each group were provided with different newspaper headlines, legislations and penalties. The name of the activity is pretty self-explanatory, where they had to, funnily enough, match-up the headline with the corresponding statute and sentencing.
As volunteers, we prompted them to develop their analytical thinking by questioning whether they thought the punishments received were appropriate. Challenging them to come up with alternatives which they thought would have been better.
My overall experience in volunteering for Street Law was positive. It was fun travelling to another school and interacting with a range of students. What I enjoyed the most though wasn’t just that we got to meet many of the Year 9 pupils, but that we assisted in raising awareness about internet safety in an intriguing way. It is such a relevant topic considering how it’s the 21st century and we’re surrounded by technology. Social media has become very accessible to anyone of all ages and it’s important for young people to be educated in their legal rights for their own protection.
I was glad to be part of a worthy cause. If any events open up next time, sign me up!