Fast food giant’s citizens’ advice

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Friday, 22nd November 2019


Pupils from Acland Burghley School with Amir Atefi, Michael Fitzgerald, Natalia Gzaje and Hiri Arunagiri

McDonald’s are spreading the word that children can find refuge in their restaurants. If in trouble, young people can seek help with managers at McDonald’s restaurants until the police arrive under their “safe haven” policy.

This is one thing pupils at Acland Burghley learnt this week. The Respect: ‘Your Life, Your Choice’ booklets, published by the Children’s Safety Education Foundation (CSEF) and funded by McDonald’s, have allowed more than 1,800 students at secondary schools to explore issues ranging from peer pressure and anti-social behaviour to drugs and domestic abuse.

Amir Atefi from Kentish Town McDonald’s visited Acland Burghley. He said: “This book delivers some very important messages to young people in our neighbourhoods about what it means to be a good citizen.

“It gives lots of positive advice and guidance about how they can make the right choices and decisions that help keep us all safe, which will have a positive benefit for everyone in our communities.”

Hiri Arunagiri, who teaches at Acland Burghley, said: “The booklets are information rich and equip students with the knowledge they need to live healthy, safe and positive lives. This falls into the Prevent section of our Youth Safety Initiative by ensuring that all young people are able to make informed decisions and become positive contributors to their communities.”

CSEF is the leading charitable provider of interactive children’s safety education. Michael Fitzgerald, from the Foundation, explained how the programme works.

“He said: “As part of the Respect Programme we encourage young people to challenge stereotypes, consider opposing viewpoints and examine citizenship issues.

“We are delighted to receive this support from McDonald’s, which will enable us to continue our vital work in the community.”

Olya’s special art of friendship

Olya with her book

Olya Dobrovolska, 27, has written a book inspired by her art lessons with children in Archway, where she lives. My Special Friend is a re-telling of the classic story Little Red Riding Hood.

“I wanted to show that friends are special and with them you can achieve anything,” she says.

Olya, who moved to London from Ukraine two years ago after graduating from art school, gives after- school lessons in pupils’ homes.

Her illustrations feature in the book alongside the story of friendship.

“The book is like Red Riding Hood but the wolf is good and everyone becomes friends in the end,” she says.

“The young children I teach really inspire the stories and drawings I create.”

The book is available to buy from eBay and various school and art fairs.

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