An Innovative Collaboration—Causes Project and PMI Project Outreach
At this time last year a piece about the Middle School Causes Project (CP) appeared in this journal. The CP was initiated in the Middle School in 2014. Essentially it is a means by which our efforts for good causes (whole of campus and House-based) have been organised and developed into a coherent and quite sophisticated form. The pillars of the CP (the 4 A’s) are:
Awareness - raising consciousness and providing knowledge
Advocacy - taking a message of active support to the School and wider community
Altruism - practising unselfish concern for the welfare of others
Action - doing something pragmatic for the benefit of others.
The CP provides our students with many opportunities to enact these four pillars. There have been numerous campaigns run in support of causes such as MAADA Magwi (to help build a school in South Sudan), the Home of Hope (Cambodia), Cycle 4 Sam, Tanzeed, the Leukaemia Foundation, The Salvation Army, Canteen, the Childhood Cancer Association and the Jodie Lee Foundation and others.
A new collaboration with the PMI (Adelaide, South Australia Chapter) Project Outreach
I invite the reader to follow either of the links printed at the end of this article. It will take you to a 5-minute video of the workshops that our students participated in, working with volunteer staff from the Project Management Institute (PMI) (Adelaide, SA Chapter).
Earlier this year Mr Yudhi Mohan-Ram (current parent and PMI Mentor) and I began a conversation about a possible collaboration between the PMI (Adelaide, SA Chapter) and Pembroke School. We talked about the benefits of the teaching and application of project management skills as a life skill to our students. Our common aim was to provide some dedicated training that would enable our students to learn the necessary skills to take greater responsibility for the charitable works they frequently undertake in their journey through the Middle School—via the CP. We decided to run a pilot scheme utilising the Term 3 cause Cycle 4 Sam. This is the first time that the PMI (Adelaide, SA), through Project Outreach and in association with SA Water, has collaborated with a school.
The PMI (Education Foundation) is the world’s leading not-for-profit professional membership association for the project profession. Its members are committed to supporting project management as a life skill. The PMI method divides every project into phases and attention to all of them keeps people from missing an important component. The five-phase method delivers the language and tools of project management—the initiation or creation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and closing phases. This is what was taught to our Year 10 Student Voice Executive and their Year 9 counterparts in two workshops run in May and June.
Working in the MS Conference Room with PMI staff who had volunteered their time and expertise, they were guided through a simulation of making a cake and shown how readily the five phases are applied. In the subsequent workshop the students had to project manage a hypothetical trip to France in great detail by applying the same method. They did so in small groups with increasing levels of confidence and some friendly input from the PMI staff. The feedback from all the participants was positive (as you can see by viewing the video link below). The final stage in this process was executed in August when one half of the trained group of Years 9 and 10 students met again and formed a Student Action Team to plan and implement the Cycle 4 Sam campaign on the King’s campus.
What happened next
At this planning meeting the Student Action Team was reminded of the 4 A’s or pillars of the CP and given the task of developing SMART objectives for each pillar and a timeline for project management of the Cycle 4 Sam campaign.
A second meeting clarified what the awareness and fundraising events would be, and a deadline was set to gather information, including costs and risk management factors. The Student Action Team were pro-active in developing an action plan and confirming the timeline based on the information presented at the previous meeting.
All students in the Cycle 4 Sam Action Team divided into smaller groups that took responsibility for aspects of the campaign. The groups arranged promotions, guest speakers, posters, and activities such as the casual day, smoothie bike riding, cupcake sales and virtual bike races. The Team were generous with their time and resources to manage the various activities, and also agreed to donate all the baked goods for the cupcake sale and the bananas for the smoothie bikes.
On the Cycle 4 Sam Casual Day students and staff were encouraged to wear bright colours. All students were issued with a balloon and, despite the drizzle, a Cycle 4 Sam balloon photo involving over 700 students and teachers was taken. It was a colourful sight.
Ms Bel Ryan, the Art Therapist employed in paediatric palliative care at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, also visited Pembroke as part of the Team’s awareness raising. Cycle 4 Sam has been funding this position and its programs for a number of years now. Bel worked with a number of students on a giant paper mandala, providing our students with a creative opportunity to symbolise the work of Cycle 4 Sam. The final product is stunning and is on display in the MSRC foyer.
The combined efforts of the Cycle 4 Sam Action Team’s awareness and fundraising campaign have raised new levels of advocacy and $4,000.
The pilot will continue in Term 4 when the second group of trained students will work to plan and implement the campaign for the Tanzeed Cause.
To view the video (5:46) of the workshops follow either link below: http://www.pmiadelaide.org/index.php/resources/project-outreach or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkMnNSi8BPU
Head of Middle School
Assistant Head of Middle School
Cycle 4 Sam campaign in the Middle School