May 9, 2008
STUDENTS FROM Ennis, Co Clare, have been named Young Social Innovators of the Year for their anti-bullying project.
The all-female group from Coláiste Mhuire, Ennis, Co Clare, were among 6,000 students aged from 15 to 18 who entered the awards scheme.
They received their prize, which includes a grant of €2,500, from Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, chairwoman of Young Social Innovators (YSI), at a ceremony at the RDS in Dublin yesterday.
YSI is a project-based programme in which young people tackle social issues that concern them. More than 400 projects were submitted this year and 200 were selected for a showcase at the RDS which finished yesterday.
The winning team developed a project called "Stomp Out Bullying". This included writing and performing a drama about bullying, and a PowerPoint presentation. The drama was recorded on to DVD and the students hope to make it available nationally.
Students from Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Blarney, Co Cork, and St Joseph's, Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath, were joint runners-up.
The Blarney project raised awareness about sex trafficking and students plan to petition the Government to introduce a Garda taskforce to deal with the issue.
The students from Westmeath focused on suicide and depression among young people. They encouraged local establishments to hang posters on the back of toilet doors and their work will soon feature on RTÉ's Nationwide programme.
More than 20,000 young people have taken part in the YSI scheme since it was founded by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and Rachel Collier in 2002.
Sr Stanislaus told the group that they were "a powerful force for change" and she encouraged them to continue to make a difference. She also called on business and community leaders to encourage and support project teams in their local areas.
Young Social Innovators is sponsored by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the HSE and other bodies.
Young Social Innovators of the Year: Coláiste Mhuire, Ennis.
Joint Runners-up: Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Blarney, and St Joseph's, Rochfortbridge.
Making our World Safer Award: Mount Mercy College, Cork city.
Making our World More Inclusive Award: St Mary's, Mallow.
Making our World Fair and Just: Loreto Secondary School, Kilkenny.
Making our World a Better Place for Young People: St Columba's College, Stranorlar.
Making our Community Better: Presentation College, Tuam.
Making our Country Poverty-Free: St Leo's College, Carlow.
Making our World One World: John The Baptist Community School, Hospital.
Making our World Greener: Mercy Secondary School, Tralee.
Making our World Healthier – Mental Health:St Aloysius College, Carrigtwohill.
Making our World
Healthier – Physical Health: Good Counsel College, New Ross.
YSI Step Up Award: John The Baptist Community School, Hospital.