The purpose of our Peer Education “Alcohol Awareness Project” is to put the spotlight on alcohol and its misuse whilst also fostering leadership among young people. Galway Lions Club have partnered with Tacade, a specialist educational charity in the area of life skills, to deliver this programme. It is part of an overall Irish Lions Programme, which has now run successfully for 5 years.
To date, the programme is operating in 30 schools in Ireland with the number increasing each year. This year we intend to increase the number of Galway schools participating in the project.
Background to the Programme
The Dublin Lions Club launched its Peer Education “Alcohol Awareness Project” to mark the 50thAnniversary of the Club. This programme was launched in 2005 as a pilot project with 6 schools and was extended to 9 schools the following year.
Since the launch of the programme , the initiative has extended to the Greater Dublin area including Swords, Naas and Bray and also through out the country to Mullingar, Thurles, Galway and Kilcullen. The intention of the Lions of Ireland is to make this programme available through out the country.
The purpose of this programme is to put a spotlight on Alcohol and its mis-use. The issue of alcohol in our society is well understood and is subject to extensive debate. There is however a lack of practical action to begin to address the problem. This programme is about providing young people with information in an innovative and effective way through Peer Education The Peer Education approach to Alcohol Awareness was developed by TACADE, a UK based charity which specialises in developing training materials in life skills, drug awareness, alcohol and more recently gambling. T
Benefits of the Programme
Having completed the third year of the programme, we believe that three major benefits can be identified based on the feedback from teachers and pupils involved.
- Alcohol is a major issue in society and through this initiative Lions put the spotlight on alcohol and ensure that young people are informed.
- Peer Education builds a spirit of leadership and social responsibility. These are qualities that Lions wish to support.
- Lions Clubs are working in a practical and effective way to help change how our society approached its use of alcohol.
The Alcohol Awareness Programme – the mechanics
There are 4 steps involved in implementing the Programme.
1/ Training the Teachers
The programme starts with the training of the teachers, consisting of a 1-day workshop to familiarise teachers with the material. A workshop for teachers is being held on 9th February -kicking off at 9.00-at the Fitzwilliam Hotel, hence the presence of Martin for the Award Ceremony.
2/ Training the Peer Educators
Teachers invite students to become Peer Leaders. This group is taken through a programme designed to equip them with the necessary information and skills to work with groups of 12/13 year-old children. Typically the training of Peer Educators will involve some 8/10 sessions. Our experience shows that Transition Year is the most suitable from the viewpoint of the flexibility of the school programme for that year.
3/ Training younger pupils about Alcohol
On completion of their training the Peer Leaders work as a team with a class of 12/13 year olds, using the materials supplied and material that they have prepared from their own research on Alcohol. While the Peer-Educators run these classes, a teacher will always be present. Typically this takes place over 1/2-class periods.
The final part of the programme is recognition of the achievement of the Peer Educators with the celebration of the success of the project.