Six social action projects from Kildare took part in the Aldi Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards in the National Indoor Arena, Blanchardstown, Dublin last Saturday, 13 April 2019.
‘The Positivity Pages’, from Carrick an Suir, Tipperary was named the overall national winner at the Aldi Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards. Their Citizenship Project, which started a monthly youth newspaper to spread positivity and awareness about minding your mental health was chosen from over 220 social action projects developed by young people to change their communities for the better.
This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the Youth Citizenship Programme, which was first run by Foróige in 1969. 2019 has been the biggest year for the programme ever, with over 14,000 young people taking part.
More than 2,000 young people, representing every county in the Republic of Ireland, descended on the National Sports Campus to celebrate and showcase their community action projects at the Awards. 220 youth groups took part, having worked on Citizenship Projects focused on improving the entrants’ local communities in areas such as equality, homelessness, climate change, social inclusion, community events, mental health and culture.
Balyna Foróige Club, Kildare, won a Gold Award for their project to preserve local historical amenities. Seven projects received gold awards, seven silver and eight bronze. (See details of other Kildare projects below)
Commenting at the Awards, Seán Campbell, CEO of Foróige said: “There’s a reason this programme has lasted fifty years; it works. It gives young people the opportunity to grow and learn, but perhaps even more importantly to get to know their community by being a leader in it.
“Year after year, attending these awards, I’m amazed by the ingenuity; integrity and grit of Foróige young people. It’s truly phenomenal how much they can achieve when they put their minds to a cause. The young people who entered the Aldi Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards this year invested over 82,000 hours in their community action projects and that’s something that we should be really proud of as a country.
“We are deeply grateful to our sponsor Aldi, for not only making this work possible, but for believing in young people and in communities in a real and tangible way.”
The Awards were opened by Mairéad McGuinness MEP, Vice President of the European Parliament, Today FM presenter Alison Curtis MC’d, while Brave Giant provided music throughout the day.
Mairéad McGuinness said, “the young people taking part in the Aldi Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards are truly inspiring. They are not only our hope for the future, but our hope for today. The projects that these young people have undertaken so passionately will form an invisible thread that will bind their communities together for many years to come, and I want to thank them, the volunteers that work with them, Foróige and Aldi for making this happen for all of us.”
This year was the fifth year Aldi has partnered with Foróige to support the Awards, and it’s the second year of an agreed a new three-year €900,000 partnership extension with the youth organisation. Over that time the programme has gone from strength to strength, with entries increasing by over 600% since 2014.
Commenting at the Awards, John Curtin, Group Buying Director with Aldi added:
Aldi’s partnership with Foróige is one that we are very proud of. This is the 5th year we have been involved in the Youth Citizenship Awards and over that time the programme has gone from strength to strength, with the number of entries growing each year.”
“Through their projects, the Foróige members raise awareness for homeliness and mental health, promote areas such as road safety and animal welfare and made the everyday lives of those in their communities better’”
“It Is absolutely inspiring to see what young people can achieve when they work together and for the benefit of their communities.”
Projects from Kildare included:
Balyna Foróige Club, Co. Kildare
A project to preserve local historical amenities
After the demolition of an old historical house in their community, the young people in Balyna became concerned about protecting other local landmarks for the future. They arranged a visit of the Historical Society to their club meeting to learn about the village’s hidden history and decided that the unique stones in the Primary School, that go unnoticed daily, deserved some recognition. They cooperated with other local groups to fundraise, install and have an unveiling event for a plaque at the school. They also decorated storyboards about local history to display in the school. The unveiling event was covered by local media,it was a great success that brought over 120 people from the community together.
Celbridge Youth Café, Co. Kildare
A fundraising project for their Youth Café
Celbridge Youth Café noticed there was a need to provide tea/coffee and soup to visitors to the local Annual Christmas Fair. The members also felt that it was a good fundraising opportunity for their Youth Café, which was a valuable facility for young people in the community. Working as a team, the group costed what they would need, prepared the soup in advance of the day, and promoted the event. The project was a great success, and also provided a great platform to promote the Youth Café to people who attended the Annual Christmas Fair.
Narraghmore Foróige Juniors, Co. Kildare
An animal welfare awareness project
As a rural club, many people in their locality are pet owners. The group wanted to make sure that the community know how to care for their animals correctly. They contacted their local animal shelter KWWSPCA, they organised a visit from the staff of the shelter and three of their current dogs to hear about animal cruelty and why this happens. Due to time constraints the members were unable to organise a fundraising event, however, they donated club funds to the animal shelter. This money will go on food, shelter and medicine for the animals.
Narraghmore Foróige Club, Co. Kildare
Making homes for birds to raise money for homeless people
The young people from Narraghmore Foróige Club wanted to shine a spotlight on homelessness and raise money for St. Vincent de Paul. They decided to run a family fun day and hold a birdhouse competition as part of it. The group learned how to make birdhouses. The event was a great success and there were 23 birdhouses entered in the competition. The group met with Birdwatch Ireland who guided them on where the best places were in the community to put the birdhouses. The importance of teamwork was one of the biggest things that the young people learned.
Rathangan After School Group, DPEI, Co. Kildare
An anti smoking video
The young people noticed the number of people their age in the community who smoke, and wanted to highlight the dangers of the habit. After researching ways to do this, they decided to create an animated video to remind people of the impact that smoking has on your health. While the project has given them new skills and shown them the value of teamwork, they hope that the project with benefit the wider community as a whole.
Time to Sign Foróige Style, Co. Kildare
Sign language summer camps for young people
The group were inspired to learn sign language so they could communicate with people who are deaf in their school and community. They researched courses, but soon realised they were either too expensive or aimed at adults. The young people taught themselves to sign from Youtube videos and ran free summer camps to teach other young people how to sign too. To promote their summer-camps they made a Youtube video with Lucy Kennedy’s Golden Buzzer act from Ireland’s Got Talent – Sharon and Brandon.
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