Future leaders from a school in the London Borough of Havering in the UK showed true compassionate leadership by volunteering in the local community. They learnt so many life lessons by serving. The school had launched the first ever leadership development program, combining it with volunteering in the local community. The secondary school students served young people with autism, sacrificing their Saturdays to work with the most vulnerable sections of society. The students came along side these young people at an autism club in Romford in Havering in London, helping them in their creative skills, sports, dance, music, in partnership with a local church. It was so wonderful to see service to the community in action in such a vibrant way – they brought joy into the lives of the vulnerable.
The paintings of these young people on the autism spectrum were displayed in the local council chamber, featured in community magazines and exhibited at an event in a local church to mark Autism Sunday – the international day of prayer for autism which takes place annually, on the second Sunday in February. People came from far and wide to see these creative works of art from the differently abled, including the local MP, the Mayor and local Councillors. The students played a huge role in the ‘Step Up to Serve’ campaign, launched by one of the British charities under patronage of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales – they were an integral part of the #IWill campaign set up with the intention of helping young people into volunteering in their communities.
Serving the local community made a huge impact on the lives of these future leaders. When they left school and went on to follow University degrees in the United Kingdom, they actually wrote about their experience in research papers, threw themselves into University Autism Clubs and went on to serve even more in other local communities. They displayed compassionate leadership by reaching out in love to young people with autism in the UK.