Young People From Offaly Excel In Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards
The Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards in partnership with Aldi took place last Saturday 2nd July 2016 in the Citywest Hotel and Conference Centre, Dublin. Gallen Community Ferbane Foróige Club 1, won the Silver Star Award for their project ‘A bicycle recycling and fundraising project to help a community in Africa’.
The awards celebrated the work of young people in the community over the past year with over 2,000 young people in attendance as well as hundreds of volunteers. 160 community enhancement projects were exhibited at the event with all 26 Counties represented.
Seán Campbell, CEO of Foróige said, “Community wellbeing was the clear winner when it came to driving forces behind this year’s projects, with the vast majority of projects built on a pride and passion in community that bodes well for the future. It is so inspiring to see what young people can achieve when they work together and put their minds to something. We are extremely proud to be working in partnership with Aldi for the second year running on the Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards and the numbers of young people and communities involved have been going from strength to strength.”
Finbar McCarthy, Group Buying Director at Aldi Ireland said today, “Foróige’s underlying aim of building self-esteem and confidence in young people through challenging experiences is something that we at Aldi strongly believe in, and with our 126 stores nationwide we will continue to look at ways we can support this very worthwhile organisation at a national and regional level.”
The event was opened by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone TD, MC’d by 2FM’s Eoghan McDermott, and also featured talks from disability rights campaigner Joanne O’Riordan, and social media expert Darragh Doyle.
It celebrated the inspirational contribution that these young people have made to their communities with music from Keywest, giant indoor rock climbing and abseiling, a snowboarding simulator, recording studio, miniature golf and a variety of other activities. The young people in attendance also got to learn about the amazing work of their peers taking place throughout the country.
The projects from Offaly were as follows:
Ballycumber Foróige Club 1, Co. Offaly – An intergenerational gardening project with residents of a local nursing home
Following a previous project at a local nursing home in Clara, the group were invited back to take part in a gardening project with the residents. The young people researched the space and the types of plants that would be suitable to use to enhance the health and well-being of the residents. They collaborated with the residents of the nursing home to develop the concept for the garden and to arrange a suitable time to begin the project. The project has allowed the young people to develop a strong relationship with older members of the community and to grow in confidence as the process evolved.
Ballycumber Foróige Club 2, Co. Offaly – A project to map the local graveyard
The group noticed that some names were beginning to fade from gravestones in the local graveyard. They believed it was important to preserve these details and also wanted to raise awareness of possible ancestors of local community members in the graveyard. The young people developed a plan that involved getting prints, noting names, and taking measurements of graves. They engaged a local architect to accurately map the graveyard and sent a detailed plan to a local business to create a new sign. The group’s project has received a very positive response from the community and they are continuing the project by erecting a board with names and graves, along with a commemorative plaque.
Gallen Community Ferbane Foróige Club, Co. Offaly – A bicycle recycling and fundraising project to help an African community
During a brainstorming meeting the group discussed the needs of their community, but after noticing a poster for ‘Bikes4Africa’ the young people decided to find out more information about it. They invited a representative to come to talk to them about ‘Bikes4Africa’, which is a project to provide second-hand bikes to school children in Africa. The young people liked this project because they felt it would be supported by their community, was a means of recycling and would greatly benefit another community in Africa. After deciding a date for collection, they engaged key stakeholders such as the County Council and An Post, and encouraged members of the wider community to donate their old bikes. The young people organised for the bikes to be collected and transported to prisons where the bikes will be repaired before they are shipped to Africa.
Gallen Community Ferbane Foróige Club, Co. Offaly – An anti-bullying initiative
After discussion, the group discovered the need to raise awareness and educate members about the impact of bullying. The young people invited the founder of ‘I’m A Friend’ to speak to them about the anti-bullying initiative. After a follow up discussion on the personal experiences the young people had of bullying, they voted to adopt the ‘I’m A Friend’ principles for their clubs. Through the project they researched the nature of bullying, it’s impact on victims and the importance of anti-bullying principles in a person’s character development. The group plan to continue the project, and are in the process of organising workshops to address the increasing phenomenon of bullying amongst girls.
Kiera Anderson, Ferbane Foróige Club, Co. Offaly – A community project to run dance sessions for ‘Healthy Living Day’
After being approached by adult volunteers, Kiera undertook a project to run dance sessions as part of Offaly District Council’s ‘Healthy Living Day’. When she discovered that the Dance Coach was unable to attend, Kiera stepped in to run the dance sessions herself because she knew that members would be disappointed. With just 24 hours notice, she sourced the music, prepared the routines, and ran the classes. Kiera developed her organisational and communication skills, and received very positive feedback from members of the wider community who attended her classes