The American University of Edinburgh student Caroline Bernet has found it rewarding to help out with EPIC’s Girls Project in Wester Hailes.
Caroline was hired as a Project Support Worker for EPIC’s second Girls Project in the Edinburgh area of Wester Hailes, following a grant of £2,133 from the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Local Community Grants. The grant allowed both EPIC and the University to strengthen their bonds with their local communities by enabling a student to assist with the delivery of the Project. Caroline feels the initiative has been successful.
‘It has been a good experience. I have liked working with a different community in Edinburgh and have also got to know the city better,’ says the 21-year-old.
Originally from Chicago, Caroline came to Edinburgh to study Politics and History and has just finished her second year. When she saw the EPIC role advertised at the University’s website, it immediately caught her interest.
‘I thought it sounded good as I have worked with children before and the messages of the Project sounded cool,’ says Caroline.
Over seven weeks in April and May, Caroline helped out with running the sessions of the latest edition of the Edinburgh Girls Project and used her experience to build good relationships with the young participants. The student enjoyed encouraging the girls to adopt healthy habits and increase their self-esteem.
‘I liked the breakdown of the sessions. I thought they were fun and mapped out really well. The activities were fun and got the girls excited about the topics,’ says the American.
The Edinburgh Girls Project in Wester Hailes marked an important milestone for EPIC Assist Charity Scotland as it was the first time the Project reran at the same location. It therefore could not be more fitting that it was held at the same place as the very first Girls Project; at the facilities of the local arts charity WHALE Arts. WHALE Arts also provided a support worker who assisted EPIC staff in project delivery.
The Project ran in weekly sessions and focused on social, mental and physical health. As usual, it revolved around a combination of discussions and fun activities which made the participants think about the topics addressed. The participants were all girls from the local area aged 5-10.
Caroline was not the only person who is happy with the outcome of the Edinburgh Girls Project. The feedback from the participants was also very positive. For instance, all of the regular participants stated in a post-project survey that they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with the Project. These sentiments were also shared by the parents as two of three rated it highly, giving the Project 6 out of 6. One of the comments that were made was that the topics were useful and great to teach children from an early age.
Another parent observed that the Project made a clear impact on her daughter’s behaviour: ‘When she comes back, she talks about it all the time. She is also more open to talking about certain subjects’, reported the mum.
More awareness around healthy habits and behaviours were also observed: ‘She understands better positive and negative things that can impact her physical and emotional well-being. She definitely understands the things she can do to be happy and healthy and also what things and behaviours to avoid and not accept in others,’ were the comments from another parent of the participants.
Given this immensely good feedback from everyone involved, it can be concluded that the second edition of the Edinburgh Girls Project in Wester Hailes was a success. EPIC Assist Charity Scotland would therefore like to thank WHALE Arts for their amazing assistance and support with running the Project as well as the University of Edinburgh for their financial support which enabled the Project to take place. We hope to be back in Wester Hailes for more projects soon!