Tag Archive for: Charity

The Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal aims to collect and deliver wrapped and packed shoeboxes, full of toys and essentials, for some of the poorest children in the world. To date, over 2 million such boxes have been handed directly to children all around the world and the College are delighted to have a long standing relationship with this wonderful charity.

Last year, our Transition Year pupils (and ably assisted by Mr Paul Cron) filled over 200 boxes while also volunteering at the Team Hope warehouse, packing additional boxes and loading lorries destined for eastern Europe and beyond. We hope to top that figure this year but need your help.

Over the half term we would greatly appreciate if you could make up a box/boxes or collect some fillers for the boxes or even empty shoeboxes and bring them back to school after the break. All completed boxes or fillers can be brought to the collection point in Gwynn or left at the staff common room. You can also donate online via the Team Hope website.

Five simple steps to follow:

Get a shoebox, wrap the box and lid separately with Christmas paper (we have already wrapped 150 boxes, so if if this is too much hassle fill one of our boxes)

Decide to whom you want to give your gift (boy or girl) and what age: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.

Fill the box = use our 4 W’s as a guide (Wash, Write, Wear, Wow – more details below)

Close the box with an elastic band – please don’t seal with tape as the contents of each box have to be checked to comply with regulations.

Please include the €4 for transport in your leaflet envelope either on top of the gifts or taped to the inside of the lid.

It’s been another frenetic term in the life of our Transition Year pupils (and their teachers) as they continued to work extremely hard both inside and outside of the classroom. The final term provides further opportunities to experience new opportunities, explore their strengths and weaknesses but gives the pupils a chance to take stock of their academic and extracurricular achievements over the year.

Some of the highlights of this term include our Environmental Awareness Week, with guest speakers OC Raoul Empey and Arctic explorer Alex Hibbert. Pupils constructed a leaf composter on-site, under the watchful eye of Mr. Ryan, and aided local primary school, Whitechurch National School, lay the foundations for their outdoor classroom. There was fundraising for Irish Oesophageal Cancer Fund, the Hope Foundation and the Peter McVerry Trust, and a day of sailing and kayaking in Dun Laoghaire.

A few weeks ago, six TY pupils took part in the Transition Year Academic Prize – an event which allows pupils share their research into an area of their choice. The winner, adjudged by former teacher and current Fellow of the College Alan Cpx, was Hannah von Bergmann with a brilliant presentation on ‘cultured meat’.

There have been other opportunities recently too, to share and reward the academic achievements of our TY pupils. Last week, the Transition Year Modern Languages evening took place with the Sarah Alyn Stacey Cup presented to Jimena Reques Tovar for her achievements in languages this year. Similarly, the Transition Year English Evening saw nine pupils present their creative work in English to their peers and the TY Art pupils exhibited their work in Whispering House to a large crowd. Last night, the final Transition Year Presentation Evening took place with prizes awarded to the top pupil in all subjects and, significantly, the awarding of the annual Spirit of Transition Year. For details of this event click here for a separate post.

Next week, many of our Transition Year pupils will travel to Achill Island next week, signing off the year with a week of outdoor adventures. Many thanks, once again, to Ms Ann Kilfeather and her team for all their work in organising such an amazing, jam-packed programme throughout the year.

There has been lots of activity in Transition Year since their work experience week and half-term, especially for those involved in the Gaisce President’s Award scheme. Some community service was carried out in and around the school while the pupils were also thanked for their contribution to The Hope Foundation. Recently, they helped raise €860 for the charity which works with street children in Calcutta. We were grateful to Alpana Delaney from The Hope Foundation who visited the College to speak with the pupils about the work they do and present them with certificates recognising their work. The Gaisce pupils also volunteered at a charity auction for The Hope Foundation at the Ballsbridge Hotel, which yielded over €20,000 for the charity.

Some TY pupils took part in the Careers in Screen Day 2022, a joint initiative from the Irish Film Institute and Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.  The day started with a showing of The Racer followed by a discussion panel including the film’s Director Kieron J Walsh along with his producers and the Director of Photography. There were talks on Costume Design, Casting, Animation, and the National Talent Academy along with model-making and interviews. It was a terrific day!

Finally, TY pupils from Sustainability and Gaisce modules recently volunteered at our local Whitechurch National School to prepare the foundations for the construction of their outdoor classroom (pictured above). They did fantastic work and we look forward to continuing this work seeing the final product after the Easter break.

Again, many thanks to Ms Kilfeather and all her team for the great work they do with our Transition Yeat pupils.

There’s a common misconception that Transition Year (TY) is a “doss-year”, that nothing happens and pupils are bored and rarely challenged. Well, judging from the exceptionally busy programme of events the TY pupils at St. Columba’s have been involved in so far, we can safely say that is not true.

We have a large, diverse, enthusiastic and hard-working Transition Year group this year. While their teachers have been challenging to develop academically, the TY Co-ordinator, Mrs Ann Kilfeather, and her team have been extremely busy providing them with opportunities to develop their interpersonal and extra personal skills.

Earlier in the term, the pupils visited the excellent Causey Farm where they participated in a range of bonding and team-building activities. There was fun and mayhem too with bog jumping, sheep herding and bread-baking. Every year, our TY pupils remark on how much they enjoy that first trip to Causey Farm each year and this year was no exception. We’ve had visiting speakers including former governor of Mountjoy Prison John Lonergan, who remains as engaging as ever, and others from Team Hope (who co-ordinate the excellent Christmas Shoebox Appeal) and the Peter McVeery Trust (more on that to come). They also took part in a motivation and leadership workshop with The Super Generation.

This week is designated the Transition Year Community Week and the pupils had no formal lessons, instead participating in a range of projects aimed at increasing their awareness of cultural, sustainable and equitable community involvement. They all visited Dublin’s Pheonix Park, soaking up the historical, ecological and cultural elements in Europe’s largest urban park. They then visited Dublin Zoo, touring the amazing facilities there before enjoying a presentation on community conservation and sustainability. Two large groups of TY pupils donned their high-visibility vests and travelled to nearby Marlay Park and Sandymount Strand to pick up litter. Continuing that theme, back in the College, some pupils built sustainable bird feeders in an effort to increase biodiversity in the College while others planted vegetables in the new sustainability garden.

There has been a lot of fun this week too. A hike up nearby Kilmashogue Mountain, baking brownies, scones and flapjacks (all delivered and donated to the Rathfarnham Parish Hall), wrapping shoeboxes for the Team Hope appeal and pitching tents for their sleep-out in aid of the Peter McVeery Trust, a wonderful homelessness charity. That sleep out took place last night and luckily the weather stayed dry, although it was very cold. Well done to all who took part, including the staff who supervised.

So, as you can see, it’s been a jam-packed eight weeks for our TY pupils. A “doss-year” I hear you say … I think not. See a selection of photos from the various TY activities below.

 

The College has a rich tradition of supporting the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal, a wonderful charity that collects and delivered wrapped and packed shoeboxes full of toys and essentials for some of the poorest children in the world. The College community generally wraps and fill over 200 boxes per year, a project driven by the Transition Year pupils and ably assisted by Mr Paul Cron.

Last year, due to the pandemic, there was only an online campaign and the College community donated over €800 from Transition Year fundraising projects, with boxes assembled and delivered to children in need across Africa and Eastern Europe.
This year we are back to doing a normal campaign and we are raising money through mini-companies to buy fillers and asking people to donate fillers (details below).

Over the half term we would greatly appreciate if you could make up a box/boxes or collect some fillers for the boxes or even empty shoeboxes and bring them back to school after the break. All completed boxes or fillers can be brought to the collection point in Gwynn or left at the staff common room. You can also donate online via the Team Hope website.

Five simple steps to follow:

Get a shoebox, wrap the box and lid separately with Christmas paper (we have already wrapped 150 boxes, so if if this is too much hassle fill one of our boxes)

Decide to whom you want to give your gift (boy or girl) and what age: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.

Fill the box = use our 4 W’s as a guide (Wash, Write, Wear, Wow – more details below)

Close the box with an elastic band – please don’t seal with tape as the contents of each box have to be checked to comply with regulations.

Please include the €4 for transport in your leaflet envelope either on top of the gifts or taped to the inside of the lid.

Transition Year pupils will be taking part in the College’s first ‘Sleep Out’ in aid of the Peter McVerry Trust which works with the homeless population of Ireland. The Sleep Out will take place on the night of Thursday October 21st, 2021. We are appealing for generous donations to the Peter McVeery Trust, with all donations going directly to the charity. If you wish to donate please visit our iDonate page here.

Peter McVerry Trust is a national housing and homeless charity committed to reducing homelessness and the harm caused by substance misuse and social disadvantage.

The charity provides low-threshold entry services, primarily to younger people and vulnerable adults with complex needs, and offers pathways out of homelessness based on the principles of the Housing First model.

We look forward to reporting back on a successful event and fund-raising drive. Stay tuned to the College’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

The College has a long tradition of working with the wonder Team Hope Christmas Shoe Box Appeal. Each year our pupils, mainly from Transition Year, and staff contribute hundreds of Christmas wrapped shoeboxes full of small but significant gifts for the poorest children around the world. The current pandemic has prevented our community from contributing in the normal way and indeed Team Hope are not accepted physical gift boxes this year; instead, they’ve moved online. Our pupils have been raising funds, through their various mini-companies, to donate to this wonderful charity and to build virtual boxes but, understandably, things have proven much more difficult this year.

We are asking all Columban families (and perhaps Old Columbans too), once they’re reunited back home this weekend, to consider building their own virtual box on the Team Hope website. For every €20 received, Team Hope can send a custom filled and personalised gift box to a needy child. Each box contains items from the 4 W’s – Wash, Write, Wear and Wow – a balance between essential items and some Christmas magic.

To build a box or donate to Team Hope’s Christmas Shoe Box Appeal please click here.

Today the 25th of April at 1:30 p.m.was when the entire St.Columba’s College community were to join Old Columban and extreme runner Alex Panayotu in stages of her 24 hour ‘Run till the Sun’ around the college grounds in aid of Purple House Cancer Centre.

The entire College community: comprising pupils, staff, parents, Old Columbans, friends of the college Come together to give something back to a very worthy charitable cause. The reason why this is not happening as I write is very clear.

The world will come out on the right side of this current global pandemic. So the ‘Run til the Sun’ is only postponed. It will be nice to have something to look forward to when we will eventually be allowed to get together.

As a cancer survivor, Alex has been in isolation in the northern suburbs of Athens for over six weeks with only her faithful dog Robyn for company. Alex tells me she is doing at least two hours of running and walking every day on Mount Penteli training and preparing for when her ‘Run til the Sun’ endurance challenge will happen. She also said ‘Liam you have no idea how much I am looking forward to seeing and running with all the pupils and supporters of ‘Run til the Sun’.

I am delighted to say that in a time which is a disturbing and challenging one for so many that I can give you some good news. Purple House has finally secured a permanent home after thirty years. The HSE approved a prioritised capital application for funds towards the purchase of its new permanent premises on Duncairn Terrace in Bray. This was announced in the midst of the current crisis it will give hope to the thousands who use its services every year. The ‘Run to the Sun’ committee delighted for Conor O’Leary and Stephanie Murphy, their dedicated team and all the charity’s volunteers. Although the doors of Purple House are closed their hearts are open and hampers and support are being provided for cancer patients who are isolating.

Purple House will need to launch fundraising when the crisis is over as they will need support to fund their move. The St.Columba’s ‘Run til the Sun committee’ are looking forward to giving them as much support as our community can muster.

The College is delighted to announce details of a fantastic charitable event taking place this April – Run til the Sun! On Saturday, April 25th, Old Columban Alex Panayotou – an accomplished long-distance runner – will challenge herself to run for 24 hours around the College campus. She is looking for your support along the way – both financial and physical – to complete this mammoth challenge.

The event is being organised by a committee of pupils, who have decided that all proceeds from the event should go to Purple House Cancer Support – a fantastic charitable organisation based in Bray that provide hands-on practical support for children and teenagers with cancer. They have set up a fundraising page here where all donations, large and small, will be gratefully received.

You will soon be able to sign up to join Alex on a leg of her journey; perhaps you’re willing to run for a half-hour, 10 kilometres or even something more ambitious? You can run in the morning, afternoon, evening or even at night time – with the course illuminated along the way. The event will culminate with a celebratory barbeque at the Cricket Pavillion on Sunday evening.

The pupils have created a dedicated page for the event here and a donations page here. They have a fundraising target of €8000, which would be transformational for Purple House, as the vast majority of their funding is through donations. We were delighted to welcome Purple House to the College Chapel last Monday to hear about the work they did and some of the organising committee visited their facility in Bray a few weeks ago. Alex is a cancer survivor, another reason why the charity resonated with the pupils.

So please do get involved, donate to the cause, sponsor a runner or run a leg of the journey yourself. We would love the whole community to get involved – pupils, staff, parents, Old Columbans, friends of the College and even local primary schools.

Team Hope’s Christmas Shoebox Appeal is a wonderful charity that provides shoeboxes full of toys, treats, school stationery, hygiene products and clothing for some of the poorest children in the world. The College has been involved with this amazing charity for over 15 years and this year, once again, the Transition Year pupils have been actively involved. Pupils have already created over 200 festively wrapped filled boxes to date and have also fundraised through their mini-companies. They have also visited the Team Hope warehouse over the past few weeks packing the filled boxes into the lorries destined for Eastern Europe and Africa. A particular thank you to Mr Cron who has been driving the College’s involvement in the charity from day one, and to the other staff who accompanied the pupils to the warehouse in the evenings. Team Hope is once again the Gywnn House charity in 2019/2020.

The pastoral care team (called Cúram, the Irish for “care”) has organized a busy schedule of activities for our annual Bullying Awareness Week. Our theme is “small change, big difference”.

These include:

  • Workshops for Forms IV and VI with Stuart Wilson (from ZestLife) on the themes of “small change, big difference” and “leadership” on Monday.
  • A talk for Forms I and II from Monica Rowe from Key Conversations on developing the skills to cope with change, friendships and to develop a strong self-image on Tuesday.
  • A workshop called Hero Starts With Her for the girls in Forms I, II and IV which aims to raise awareness of the negative effects of female bullying on Wednesday.
  • A visit to the Gaiety Theatre on Wednesday for Form V to see the play Asking for It. (They will return to the College at 11:00 p.m.)
  • Teacher/pupil workshops for all on issues such as how we all have a responsibility to address bullying and how to report bullying behaviour on Thursday.
  • A workshop for Forms IV and V from Shout Out on Friday. This will address the issue of homophobic bullying. The Department of Education and Skills requires schools to focus on developing pupils’ awareness of bullying and asks that they deal explicitly with the issue of homophobic bullying.
  • A film evening for Forms I and II on Thursday (6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.).
  • A documentary and discussion for Forms III and IV on Friday (6:45 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.).
  • An art project involving the whole school.
  • Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) classes on the themes of friendship and bullying.
  • The theme of “small change, big difference” in Chapel.
  • A display of books in the Library on the theme of bullying and how to handle it.

We hope that day pupils will be able to join their classmates for evening activities. Please feel free to contact the College if you have any queries or if you wish to withdraw your child from any of the activities above.

Yesterday, Form VI pupils from Stackallan House, accompanied by Liam Canning (Housemaster) and Michael O’Shaughnessy (Assistant Housemaster), visited their chosen charity, the Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice. The pupils and staff formally presented their charity with a new 55′ television, purchased with the funds raised over the course of the year, provided for Hazel House’s newly designed play and sensory room.  Laura Lynn is a wonderful organisation, whose vision is that ‘all children who need us can access us’, provides holistic palliative care and support for children with life-limiting conditions and their families.

The members of Stackallan wanted to donate something practical and tangible rather than a cheque. They raised the money by hosting a variety show, self imposing a pizza tax, a chapel appeal collection and House fines. The television is used to play soothing sensory music during the day and for special cinema nights and sporting occasions.

Over the last 20 years the College has proudly supported the Christmas Shoebox Appeal run by Team HopeTwo years ago we sent a record 260 gift filled wrapped shoeboxes to needy children in remote parts of Africa and war torn parts of Eastern Europe. These boxes were donated by pupils, staff & parents or were put together from fillers that were either donated or were purchased by proceeds from TY mini companies or the Tuck shop. Last year the figure was significantly lower and we would love to return to the heights of 2017. 

The deadline for receipt of filled shoeboxes is after the half term break and it would be fantastic if pupils, parents, staff or indeed friends of the College would take the time over half term to make up a box.

If you want to make up a box wrap a shoebox (base & lid separate) in Christmas wrapping paper. Choose whether you want to make a box for a boy or girl and decide on the age category 2-4; 5-9; or 10-14. What goes in a box? Just follow the 4W rule!


If you are not able to wrap a box then please place all of the items in a bag and we will provide a wrapped box for you. If you have a lot of items lying around your home that you no longer use, and they are in good condition, then please bring them back to school and place them in the plastic crates in Gwynn. It costs €4 per box for transportation – please place the money in an envelope and place it in the box.