Coláiste Muire Ennis Students Win YSI 2014

CEIST congratulates Coláiste Muire, Ennis students who were recently named “YOUNG SOCIAL INNOVATORS OF THE YEAR 2014”.  Big congrats also to Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road, Co. Cork who were runners up in the competiton.

Coláiste Muire's project Beware of I.T aims to educate young people about the increasing dangers associated with internet usage.

It was one of over 400 youth-led social innovation projects undertaken this year in over 200 second level schools and youth organisations throughout Ireland.

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, Co-Founder, Young Social Innovators and Anne O’Leary, CEO Vodafone Ireland presented the winning team with their award at a special ceremony in Dublin following the 13th Young Social Innovators Annual Showcase, which was supported by the Vodafone Ireland Foundation.

The prize for the winning school, Colaiste Muire, included €1,500 to develop their project.

Runners-up were another CEIST school, Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road, Co. Cork for their project on Sexual Assault Must Come To A Halt.

Picture above Students from Colaiste Muire, Ennis, Co. Clare celebrate after being crowned Young Social Innovators of the Year 2014. Also pictured are Sr, Stanislaus Kennedy, Co-founder, YSI, and Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone Ireland.

The Young Social Innovators Showcase and Awards were attended by over 4,500 young people. Congratulating the award winners and all the participants in this year’s YSI Social Innovation Programme, Sr Stan said “today we’ve witnessed thousands of young people who are completely engaged in society and prepared to play an active role in resolving some of our most pressing social issues. Social Innovation champions youth led, experiential learning. It’s ‘hands on’ active citizenship. Civic engagement should always be a core part of youth development and education. It’s learning for life and work but fundamentally it is learning about how you connect to the people around you.”

Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone Ireland, said “We’re delighted and very proud to support Young Social Innovators. This is a uniquely rewarding opportunity for young people to make a real difference to society. We continue to be hugely impressed with the far reaching scope and creativity of your initiatives. You deserve our support, encouragement and our respect. We all stand to benefit from your actions if we nurture the ideas and the attitude showcased here today,” she continued.

Speaking on the impact of social innovation education at the Showcase, Rachel Collier, Co-founder and Chief Executive, YSI called for all young people to be given the opportunity to participate in a social innovation programme.

“As a society we are facing huge local and global challenges. Science and technology are helping us to develop innovative responses to many of these challenges. Education for social innovation is playing a critical role too, promoting innovation for social good – advancing equality, fairness and social inclusion. This learning has to be a central part of the education for all young people in Ireland. It cannot be left to chance or as an optional module or course but as an integral part of youth development,” she said.

Over 6,000 young people participated in Young Social Innovators’ project-based Social Innovation Action programme this year undertaking projects aimed at finding and implementing solutions to the social issues that concern them.

The projects addressed a range of social issues including farm and water safety, mental health, gay rights, the isolation of older people, energy and environmental conservation, as well as issues such as alopecia awareness and cyber-bullying. A further 16,000 young people were involved in YSI’s other innovation programmes in 2014.

In March this year An Taoiseach launched the Social Innovation Awards Scheme recognising schools and youth organisations which promote youth led social innovation on an on-going basis.

YSI designed the scheme in association with its public partners, Departments of Environment, Community and Local Government, the Health Service Executive, Irish Aid’s WorldWise Global Schools, and the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs, Education and Skills. Over 200 second level schools are eligible for these awards.

Since the organisation was founded in 2001, over 75,000 young people have participated in YSI programmes and have undertaken more than 3,000 youth led social innovation projects.

Young Social Innovators’ aim, in conjunction with its official partner, the Vodafone Ireland Foundation, is to create 100,000 young social innovators by 2015.