Praise for Arrupe volunteers

Volunteers from St Aloysius College in Glasgow have been praised by representatives of hospices, nursing homes, charities and schools in the city for the support they have given to local people. For the past nine years, senior pupils have been volunteering as part of the Arrupe Programme, named after the former Jesuit General Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ.

Among the Arrupe Programme placements undertaken in the autumn was Abercorn School in Cowcaddens, which caters for children with additional support needs. Pauline Egan says pupils at the school have really benefitted from the young volunteers' support each Wednesday afternoon.

“All the staff have commented on how fantastic they have found these young people,” said Mrs Egan, “whilst our pupils look on them fondly and are going to miss them.  Many of the tasks and day to day working of the school can be a bit chaotic—but all of the young people took it in their stride. In particular, they were asked to support the class as they had the Diwali party with a teacher they hadn’t met before—but they got stuck in, helping without being asked.”

Understanding

Flora McNulty and Megan Miller of S5 volunteered at St Oswald’s Secondary School for children with Additional Learning Needs. Its Depute Head, Elizabeth Heneaghan, commented on the pupils’ maturity and adaptability.Arrupe volunteer Glasgow

“Each of the girls showed an eagerness to support the young people’s lack of English and quickly used the young people’s interests to encourage language,” she said. “They showed an understanding of the pupils’ needs beyond their years.”

The Arrupe Programme was established in 2006 and was the first of its kind in the UK. It has since become the model for other Jesuit schools in Britain. Pupils on the Arrupe Programme complete two ten-week placements at a variety of locations in and around Glasgow. The placements include hospices, nursing homes, charities, schools, language units and centres for asylum seekers. At the end of each week students complete a journal, detailing their experiences and reflecting on God’s presence in their lives.

St Aloysius College currently has a vacancy for a parent volunteer to assist with the Arrupe Programme. It will require approximately six hours every Wednesday and the successful individual will need good organisational skills, computer skills and great patience! The remit covers providing support across all areas of the programme, registering pupils, liaising with placements, booking taxis, managing all supporting paperwork and assisting with the preparation and delivery of the College’s annual Arrupe evening reception. To find out more about this role, contact Julie McWilliams on ejmcwilliams@staloysius.org or phone 0141 332 3190.