If you ask me, there are too many businesses (and particularly corporations) that simply take from communities and give absolutely nothing back in return. This is not a healthy model for a strong and unified society. Many times before we’ve seen tattooists who have offered up charitable donations to various causes. This is always great to see and typically, these charitable donations go to disadvantaged children, those suffering from illness or worse. As undeniably important as those issues are, it’s also nice to see someone contributing money to schooling for children of all ages, abilities and cultural backgrounds.
On October 17th, Irish tattooist Shane Sunday is going to be donating all his profits for the day from his tattoo studio Alternative Ink in the Northern Irish town of Holywood to the Holywood Steiner School. I had never heard of the Holywood Steiner School prior to reading this article, but after a little bit of investigation, the school sounds like a pretty cool place for kids. Part of the Steiner-Waldorf schools that exist around Europe, the Holywood Steiner school is a place for children to be educated in what is probably best described as an unconventional school system. Actually, this blurb directly from the Steiner-Waldorf site probably best explains it:
‘Steiner schools are always co-educational, fully comprehensive and take pupils from 3 to ideally eighteen. They welcome children of all abilities from all faiths and backgrounds.
The priority of the Steiner ethos is to provide an unhurried and creative learning environment where children can find the joy in learning and experience the richness of childhood rather than early specialisation or academic hot-housing. The curriculum itself is a flexible set of pedagogical guidelines, founded on Steiner’s principles that take account of the whole child. It gives equal attention to the physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural and spiritual needs of each pupil and is designed to work in harmony with the different phases of the child’s development. The core subjects of the curriculum are taught in thematic blocks and all lessons include a balance of artistic, practical and intellectual content. Whole class, mixed ability teaching is the norm.’
I like the idea of a school environment for children that encourages kids to be themselves and to learn at their own pace. Plus there is an emphasis on artistic content, which is also very important. Schools like these help kids to see the world in a more open and less regimented vision, and I can certainly see why a tattooist would wish for their child to be educated in such a place. Shane Sunday’s child has been enrolled in the Holywood Steiner School since the age of six and his desire to give money to the school (which receives no state funding) is an excellent method by which to give back to the community and help push it in a positive direction.
‘Ciaran McElhone, the head of the College of Teachers said: “Parents like Shane are the reason why 35 years since its founding, the school is still a vibrant, exciting and living community.”
“As it receives no state funding, it relies on a range of voluntary activities such as fund-raising, our renowned school festivals, as well as direct hands-on work, like looking after the grounds.
“Along with the money that we get, which is very nice indeed, taking part in the life of the school means that everyone is a part of the highly important work of raising our children.”’
Great job, Shane and good luck to you. I’d also like to encourage anyone in the Holywood area who was previously thinking of getting a tattoo to head down to Alternative Ink on the 17th and finally get it done. You’ll be getting what you want and your money will be going to an excellent cause.