Last Friday, friends of Jacari came together to celebrate the achievements of our amazing pupils and volunteers and our impact as a charity. We held our summer celebration event at Trinity College, Oxford in their new garden room which was a stunning venue.
Guests included Jacari trustees, supporters, donors, volunteers, pupils and their families and alumni (former volunteers and pupils). We were particularly honoured that the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor James Fry, and Chair of Oxfordshire County Council, Councillor Susanna Pressel, were able to join us both in an official capacity and as alumni who were involved with Jacari in the 1960s.
The afternoon began with a kids’ event attended by some of our Oxford-based pupils and their families and volunteers. Families played games and did some creative activities inspired by nature. The kids' event culminated with a certificate presentation where volunteer tutors said a few words on their pupil’s progress and their pupil came up to the front to receive their Jacari certificate of achievement.
Presenting our impact
After the kids' event, our Senior Coordinators Anna Bowie and Torie Stubbs presented some of the highlights of the year, our impact statistics and stories of our pupils. We then asked volunteers, teachers and alumni to share their experience of Jacari. First we heard from two of our volunteer tutors, Maddy and Molly, who also talked about her role as a Teaching Officer on our student committee. We then watched a video from Sarah Douglas, EAL Lead at our partner school New Marston Primary, telling us about the impact of Jacari tutoring on pupils at her school.
Alumni shared memories
The next part of the evening gave us the opportunity to hear from some of Jacari's alumni. Having been founded in 1956 as an anti-racism student society at the University of Oxford, we have a long and fascinating history. It was wonderful to hear more about the early days of Jacari, when members were involved in political campaigning and activism, from alumni Susanna Pressel and her husband James Fry, who actually met through being members of Jacari in the 1960s!
Our Ambassador and alumnus, Chris Winchester, also spoke about his 7 year involvement with Jacari in the 1990s, when he tutored two sisters and also became the chair of our student society. We were extremely lucky to also hear from the sisters he tutored at the time, who came along to the event and shared their experiences of being tutored by Chris and how valuable it was to them. There was lots of laughter and reminiscing!
Networking over Middle Eastern treats
After this, we had time to network and chat, while enjoying delicious Syrian food provided by local social enterprise, Damascus Rose Kitchen.
We were delighted with how well the event went and the atmosphere in the room as people involved with Jacari in all capacities chatted and shared their stories. We look forward to this becoming an annual occasion, alternating between Oxford and Bristol.
We launched our annual impact report at the event which includes highlights of the year, the impact of Jacari tuition and extracurricular activities on young people's language skills, confidence and aspirations and stories about our pupils and volunteers.