A TEENAGE volunteer is to receive a prestigious award set up in memory of Princess Diana for his work in a school programme helping vulnerable pupils.
Aaron Jones, 18, will follow in his sister’s footsteps when he is presented with the Diana Champion Volunteer award for working as a peer mentor at Currie Community High, providing one-to-one support to one of the school’s most vulnerable pupils.
He is one of 50 of Scotland’s “most inspirational young people” set to be presented with a Diana Award at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday. His sister Mary received the award two years ago for supporting fellow pupils.
The award – established in 1999 – is presented to young people from all walks of life who are committed to taking action to help improve their communities.
Aaron, who left school at the start of the summer, worked as a peer mentor and also helped run his school’s breakfast club.
He was paired with a vulnerable S1 pupil with learning difficulties and met up with him twice a week to offer support, advice and friendship.
The teenager, who has applied to study medicine at university, said: “I chatted to him about his life and helped him out with getting more accustomed with the school and getting involved with sports.
“I think he got a bit of confidence out of it.
“When younger pupils have someone in the higher years who’s a friend and who talks to them, it boosts their confidence.
“By the end of the year, he started talking to me more openly, and I also saw him hanging out with people more and he seemed happier and calmer with people. It’s nice to feel I did something to help.”
Aaron added that he too benefited from the mentoring programme.
He said: “I feel that I have got better at chatting to people in general because of this and got better at working with kids, which I would like to do in the future.
“I am very privileged as it seems like a very good award to get.”
Last year, Currie High pupils Nicole Watson, Olivia Laybourn and Rebecca Chesser, were also presented with awards for displaying an “outstanding and selfless contribution to their communities”.
Ben Stewart, who works in Currie Community High’s support for pupils department, nominated Aaron for the Diana award.
He said: “We are delighted to see Aaron receive this prestigious award.
“Aaron and our other Diana award holders are a clear indication of the potential for good deeds and selflessness that is present in all young people in the UK. He is an excellent young man and we are very proud of him indeed.”
MSP Humza Yousaf, who will present the 50 young people with their award at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, said: “Too often young people are over-looked or demonised in today’s society.
“In reality they do tremendous things that help change the lives of many without looking for any awards or recognition. I’m delighted to support the Diana awards.”