King's Impact - Service in the community

Miata Noah (right) and her daughter Kaela-May (left)Miata Noah (right) and her daughter Kaela-May

[This article is from the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of InTouch, your alumni magazine]

Service is the term that we adopted at King’s in our Strategic Vision 2029 to describe our commitment to society beyond the traditional roles of education and research. We have recently set out our aspirations in the Service Strategy framework, with over 400 members of the King’s community, including students, staff and alumni, coming together to co-create King’s ambitions for Service.

We have ambitions to help shape and transform communities and societies across the world and it is an honour to lead this priority for the university. There are hundreds of examples of service to society, and we are discovering new stories every day. Two outstanding examples considered in this issue include Parent Power and King’s Global Day of Service.

Professor Jonathan Grant (PhD Anatomy & Human Science, 1997). Vice President & Vice Principal (Service)Professor Jonathan Grant (PhD Anatomy & Human Science, 1997).
Vice President & Vice Principal (Service)

Parent Power

A collaboration between the King’s Widening Participation Department and Citizens UK, Parent Power is a community charity that trains parents of under-represented students to work towards improving university access in their local communities, helping reduce educational inequality.

The project has engaged over 200 parents since starting in July last year, and recruited 35 ‘Parent Power Leaders’, who meet monthly. One of those leaders is Miata Noah from south London. She originally got involved because she wanted the best future for her 13-year-old daughter, Kaela-May. Both are featured on our cover this issue.

Miata explains: ‘Parent Power offers a fantastic opportunity to make a difference to my child’s future. All our kids are very bright and able but they can’t access a top university without certain resources that would be given to privately educated kids, like summer schools and visits to universities. We all wanted to make changes in education to enable our kids to be successful and attend universities like King’s.’

Miata is clear about how the group can help her and her daughter, and others like them.

‘I’ve always wanted Kaela- May to go to university. I knew there were barriers, but through Parent Power I am learning ways to overcome these obstacles.

‘Kaela-May wants to study computer science, and through Parent Power I found out about Stemettes, a social enterprise which encourages women to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). She has signed up to the scheme to help with her skills in this area.’

Anne-Marie Canning MBE, King’s Director of Social Mobility and Student Success
Anne-Marie Canning MBE, King’s Director of Social Mobility and Student Success

King’s Director of Social Mobility and Student Success, Anne-Marie Canning MBE, said: ‘Parent Power works with mums and dads to empower them to support their children in accessing university study. It has been a transformative initiative and the parent leaders have secured trips to universities, summer activities and interviews with Sky News and The Times. We are proud to stand alongside parents in supporting their children to flourish educationally.’

King’s Scholars

Kaela-May has been able to benefit from another King’s scheme, which aims to widen access to education. The King’s Scholars programme works with Year 7 to 9 (age 11–14) pupils from schools in the London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster. The scheme aims to encourage pupils from under-represented backgrounds to engage with higher education, and to apply to, and succeed at, highly selective universities. It features workshops and guidance for pupils and their parents to raise attainment and provide information, guidance and reassurance on how to progress to university.

Kaela-May has enjoyed being part of the scheme. She said: ‘In Year 7, King’s Ambassadors came to my school and we did several sessions with them for five weeks. This was a really valuable experience because I got to socialise with people from across my school who were also on the programme. I had the opportunity to ask lots of questions as well as participate in activities.
I learnt about different ways to study effectively in my lessons. I’m really enjoying being a part of the programme.’

Global Day of Service, Hong Kong
Global Day of Service, Hong Kong

King’s Global Day of Service

It’s not just in London where King’s is serving local communities. King’s first Global Day of Service brought together alumni, students and friends of King’s to serve communities around the globe throughout May this year.

King’s alumni volunteered to restore a park in Boston, USA, serve healthy food to those in need in Mumbai, India, and ran to raise money for community charities in London. There were 10 international events across four continents, with 170 volunteers and 550 service hours completed in total.

Alex Lau (War Studies & Geography, 2007) is a member of the King’s Hong Kong Alumni Committee who played a major role in the Global Day of Service, organising a volunteer and youth mentoring day with international charity the Crossroads Foundation.

He said: ‘I have been involved in the Hong Kong Alumni Committee for two years and have assisted with events and volunteering during that time. Crossroads is involved in the redistribution of resources to those in need, and King’s alumni volunteers assisted with sorting and packing donated goods, along with painting and general maintenance. Our alumni had an amazingly emotional and thought-provoking experience taking part.’

King’s is the first university in the UK to run a service event at this level for alumni, students, staff and friends of the University.

This work is all part of King’s drive to benefit communities both internationally and locally, helping King’s to be known as a university that makes a significant contribution to society.