Figuring out the basics

Eureka moment over, the obvious next step was to explore the areas this project could and should impact. With a spotlight on inner-city kids, help around surviving school and education seems the obvious place to start, followed by the next step in this stereotypical life cycle which I guess is some way of making a success of things.

Thinking of volunteers in the young professional age group, and using myself as an initial model, I guess the area that most of us could realistically add value in terms of knowledge transfer or support is the transition from education into life opportunities, particularly for young people who are struggling to use education as a stepping stone or who simply want to do something different.

It therefore might make sense to narrow things down to the 13/14 yr old upto early adult age group for the target area that this project should focus on providing support for. Much younger and we’re getting into the need for more specialist teaching or behavioural skills; our offered knowledge and experience begins to appear less relevant; audience vulnerability increases and the interaction risks become significantly higher. Odds are also that parents and teachers play a bigger role in the child’s interaction with the internet, and there are a large number of support services and sites already out there for young children.

At 14 however, teenagers step into the final GCSE stretch and the whole idea of further education, life skills and career progression really begins to take on relevance; and as a mostly successful and young professional social network we are still close enough to the experience to have something valuable to offer. 13 is worth considering too as it is the age at which a lot of children begin to get sorted into sets that determine their likely outcomes at GCSE, and maybe there’s something we can do to help improve their chances of achieving better outcomes. The young adult age group really begins to take us into the space we can help most - through experience, and support with further education, job applications, career paths, venture scoping, setting up small businesses and mentoring.

This then sort of wraps up into a target age group of 13/14 upto early 20’s... obviously needs more thought, but is a good enough place to start; along with an offering around support with education, jobs and small businesses. As a holistic view though, we're missing a major area for vulnerable young people that is often the underlying factor behind their struggles with education and opportunity, and this is generally surviving the pressures of life itself.

At an initial glance, we again seem to be getting into specialist support areas, and I’m not entirely sure quite how our imaginary volunteer network could directly help, but that doesn’t mean the project can’t dedicate a section that functions as an information portal that links into more personal support services. I need to spend a bit of time talking to people working in social and care services, and maybe we’ll find some way of helping more proactively. Meantime ‘surviving life’ then makes up the fourth theme for this project.

Approach angle regardless, I think this gives us a nice circle of ‘themes’ to start fleshing out, and the idea is beginning to take on life!

Urban Survival Project Themes:

  • Surviving Education
  • Surviving Jobs
  • Surviving Business
  • Surviving Life

Themes Outline

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