Me, myself and IARS

I am a Political Science and Economics student from Alexandria, Virginia. I came to study in London for the fall semester through James Madison University and as part of my experience I had the opportunity to intern with IARS from September to December 2021. 

From my first day interning at IARS, I was welcomed into the organization by my supervisors Maija and Sophia as well as the rest of the team. If I ever had a question or concern about anything I was working on, I could always feel free to reach out to anyone through email or text. I am so pleased that I was able to intern at an organization with a positive and supportive work environment—I was able to create more meaningful relationships with coworkers and work more productively as a result. While IARS was in the middle of its rebranding process, the team took my opinions into account and believed that my thoughts would provide insight on how to market in the coming years.

I interned on a hybrid schedule, coming into the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays and working remotely on Wednesdays. This arrangement encouraged me to manage my time effectively and become more used to balancing time between the office and home—a skill which will be critical in the post-pandemic world. 

I worked on a variety of projects at IARS, most notably the EU-funded EDEEY Project. My first task for this project was to compile a list of charitable grant funds into a new spreadsheet featuring descriptions of each foundation and classifying them by the type of support that they offer. I then began working on a document which would serve as part of EDEEY’s training program for young social enterprises and charitable businesses, which features guidance on applying for grant programs. Utilizing dozens of sources, I wrote sections about how to find and apply for grants through online databases, how to ethically maximize fundraising in the digital world, and how to navigate different legal classifications of social enterprises. Researching the world of UK charities/social enterprises gave me valuable insight into the plethora of organizations and fundraising methods that exist in this sector, and increased my ability to synthesize large amounts of information.

I also worked on several smaller projects at IARS. One of my favorite days of the internship was when I had the opportunity to deliver a training session to three work experience students who were visiting the office for a week. I created a presentation on mental health and mindfulness, which made a positive impression on the students while providing our organization with knowledge of the things that young people value today. I also assisted in drafting an introduction for an IARS Impact Report and worked with a fellow intern on researching and compiling a list of businesses in the legal, insurance, and technology sectors that IARS could partner with in the future. 

Overall, I am very satisfied with my experience at IARS. I was welcomed into a kind and productive team which helped me improve my professional skills, and was able to assist IARS in its projects and be present during its rebranding process. I would like to thank my supervisors and the rest of the IARS staff for making this an incredibly valuable learning experience and part of an unforgettable semester in London.

By Allen Hill

EMBARGOED 00:01 TUESDAY 8 MARCH 2022 

We are Sculpt

IARS International Institute to operate as Sculpt

*Charity CEO available for interview – details in notes 

A UK-based youth charity today changes its operating name from the IARS International Institute to Sculpt. 

IARS is an international NGO that’s been working to empower young people to forge a fairer society for over 20 years. Their work is guided and evaluated by young people themselves.  

Over the last 20 years, IARS has delivered more than 70 successful projects that have addressed real problems that young people face, in areas such as: 

  • Gender discrimination 
  • Violence against women and girls 
  • Supporting young people to find work 
  • Creating green and sustainable business 
  • Promoting collaboration among young people across the world and much more. 

In 2021, with the world changing rapidly and opportunities for their work shifting, they decided to refresh their purpose and identity, and made the decision to rebrand as Sculpt. 

Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of Sculpt, said: 

‘We are delighted to launch our new brand that speaks to our aim to empower young people to shape their future.

‘We believe that many of today’s young people are facing unjust challenges – economically, environmentally and socially. A fair, sustainable society can only evolve if all young people have the opportunities, the confidence, the ambition and the skills to make their voices heard and propel change in their communities, irrespective of who they are or where they come from.  

‘Our rebrand, like our work, has been guided by research and by young people themselves. As an organisation we base our work on rigorously researched evidence and are led in our approach by our youth advisory board. Their voices and insight are critical to solving the right problems in meaningful ways.’  

 

Notes to editors:  

Dr. Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of The IARS International Institute is available for interview. Contact Claire directly on: director@iars.org.uk +44(0) 7833 224442  

Sculpt

www.sculptuk.org 

Sculpt is a UK-based charity providing research, training and work-experience opportunities that empower young people to shape their own futures and those of their communities. 

We work directly with young people, employers and professionals who support young people. All our work is guided by young people themselves and based on carefully researched evidence. We: 

  • Facilitate forums for young people to make their needs and their voices heard. 
  • Publish a magazine by young people to express their perspectives and encourage debate around public policy issues. 
  • Conduct research to uncover young people’s real needs and what works to empower and support them. 
  • Deliver training to build young people’s confidence, skills, ambition, resilience and sense of responsibility, so they can shape their futures and change their communities for the better, as leaders, social entrepreneurs and active participants in civic life. 
  • Deliver training for professionals who work with young people, drawing on our research and expertise. 
  • Engage with employers to facilitate work experience and employment opportunities for young people to develop skills and access diverse jobs. 
  • Facilitate international exchange opportunities to encourage and enable young people to experience and appreciate other cultures, perspectives and ways of life. 

We tackle disempowerment from three angles: working directly with young people to build confidence and skills and their voice, working with professionals who support young people, and working with employers to break down barriers to opportunity.