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North students star at national philanthropy celebration

Students from Elgin Academy shared a poem about the impact of dementia on families, accompanied on stage by dancers dressed as butterflies.
Students from Elgin Academy shared a poem about the impact of dementia on families, accompanied on stage by dancers dressed as butterflies.

Students from Aboyne, Alness, Meldrum and Elgin Academies put their talents on display to spread the word about important causes.

The students were part of The Wood Foundation’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) end-of-year celebration at Perth Concert Hall. The event shines a light on students’ charity work and fundraising accomplishments over the course of the year.

But it also provides them with a platform to discuss issues that are close to their hearts. This year, the students tapped into their creative side to raise awareness of the issues for which they campaigned this year.

Students brought mental health, domestic abuse and dementia into the conversation through dance, music and more.

Wood Foundation YPI celebration: ‘Great to showcase a cause’

There were 12 schools in attendance, including the four north and north-east representatives. Each put the spotlight on an issue for which they campaigned.

Wood Foundation YPI Celebration
Students from Aboyne Academy taught a lesson in British Sign Language on stage at the Wood Foundation’s YPI celebration in 2022. Supplied by The Wood Foundation

Aboyne Academy taught the crowd a quick lesson in British Sign Language. Afterwards, students took to the stage to perform a dance that featured sign language.

One of the dancers, Leah, said: “It was a bit nerve-wracking to be on stage in front of that many people but once you’re doing it, it actually was enjoyable.”

Through contemporary dance, Alness Academy’s Ryan and Julie turned the audience’s attention to the difficult topic of domestic abuse.

Julie said: “It was amazing to be on stage. We won YPI three years ago so it was great to finally be able to perform it here.”

Wood Foundation YPI Celebration
Students from Alness Academy performed a contemporary dance to raise awareness of domestic abuse.  Supplied by The Wood Foundation

And Jess and Morgan from Elgin Academy shared a poem about the impact of dementia on families.

They were joined on stage by dancers dressed as butterflies.

They said: “It felt like we really achieved something. It was great to showcase a cause we really care about.”

Positive celebrations after ‘challenging’ years

Sir Ian Wood, chairman of The Wood Foundation, was glad to have students together in person to celebrate their achievements. The charity group’s annual end-of-year event had been on a three-year hiatus during the pandemic.

“It has undoubtedly been a very challenging two years, especially for young people,” Sir Ian said.

“It was heartening to see how well they have continued to thrive and fully embrace the opportunities of YPI. The event really highlighted why YPI is so important.

“Philanthropy is about caring, using time and skills to make a difference. This was clear to see at the National Event and gives us a great degree of hope for the future.”

The Wood Foundation started YPI in Scotland in 2008. Since then, student-led projects have garnered £6 million for grassroots social service charities.

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