Foróige members get to know their local community leaders
THERE'S something very heartening about seeing teenagers taking the time to get to know community leaders as is happening now in Listowel through the work of a great youth organisation.
Teenage members of the Listowel Foróige Youth Club - which meets at the Xistance Youth Café on Friday evenings - have been spending the last few weeks getting to know local political and community leaders in an effort to figure out how society works and to see what they can best do to improve things for their age group.
The universal spectre of bullying was among their first priorities in a subject that came up for discussion at a recent meeting between Foróige members and civic heads.
Arts and Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan, Mayor of Listowel Jimmy Moloney, Mary Walsh of the Listowel Laundry, Robert Carey of North and East Kerry Development, Ann Marie McCarron of Comhaltas, Louise Lyons of the Xistance Café and Eugene Moriarty of Foróige were among the adults who took the time out of busy schedules to meet with the teens over tea and biscuits.
"I was very impressed with them, I have to say," Mayor Moloney told The Kerryman. "They show great leadership skills and it's very heartening to see them getting engaged with the life of their community. It was a pleasure to do anything we could to encourage that," he said.
Foróige is all about empowering young people to think more about the ways in which they can play a part in improving society in general - not least their own lives. Ultimately, the national programme aims to develop key leadership skills in its members.
Sharon Moriarty, one of the directors of the Foróige Club, said that last year the members took it upon themselves to organise group study in the run-up to the Leaving Cert in an example of their winning initiative.
"This has been such a success in fact that it continues every Saturday from 10am to 5pm in St Patrick's Hall and all Leaving Cert students are more than welcome," Sharon said.
Foróige itself meets every Friday evening at the Xistance Café in St Patrick's Hall. Contact Sharon on (087) 6567322 for more information.