1: FDYS LGBT Solidarity Group, Francis Street Wexford & Island Road Enniscorthy (Group Award)
The group of young people chosen to be put forward for this award are within the LGBT Community of Wexford. They have adopted a positive community within the youth space and ensure that any new participant is accepted, respected and feels a sense of belonging when they may have been marginalised, ostracized or bullied. Young people got involved in design; creating a new Logo to display and promote a sense of “Solidarity”. They organised a Pride ZOOM event where they shared all they had created, read poems, sang songs, welcomed new young people to the group and shared personal stories, which took immense bravery, preparation and strength, whilst bringing both the Wexford and Enniscorthy LGBT groups together for the first time.
2. Matthew Colgan, Kilrane, Wexford (Individual Award)
Matthew has worked tirelessly to promote an initiative Wexford Comhairle no nOg devised and proposed to the FDYS Youth Service. Matthew although no longer a member of Wexford Comhairle no nOg continued to speak about this service which is a place for young people to sit, shill and be able to tal about issues, life or indeed anything they wish, in a safe space. This selfless contribution displays Matthews’s commitment to enhancing provision for young people in his community. Matthew entered a Lyons Club “competition” in order to promote Tea & Talk. Matthew did this voluntarily and selflessly which involved several presentations and ork in order to progress through the competition. Matthew got to speak din the final which involved other European countries and was successful in gaining second place, This meant that Tea & Talk will receive €1,250 to assist with the expense of the service. Matthew displayed huge commitment to this process and while doing 6th Year in the middle of a Pandemic is totally admirable and without requesting help, support or guidance.
3. Stella Sofola & Alanna Doyle, Selskar College, Westgate, Wexford. (Group)
Due to Covid concerns they were unable to attend but further details to follow with a proposed presentation at their school to mark their achievement.
4. Burren Chernobyl Group, Good Counsel College, New Ross (Group Award)
This group of young teenage boys took it upon themselves to raise money for an Orphanage in Belarus. They had planned to travel to the Orphanage in May, 2020 to volunteer but unfortunately Covid-19 struck. The boys decided to intensify their efforts to raise money organising events such as coffee mornings, quiz nights, concerts and many more. The boys got the entire community involved in this huge effort. The boys raised a considerable amount of money for the Orphanage and immediately used €9,000 of what was raised to go immediately to the facility to help fund with ventilators, PPE and other necessary items that would help the fight with Covid in Belarus. The boys continued to fund raise for the Burren Chernobyl Project tirelessly during the Covid-19 Pandemic. These young lads have left a lasting effect on their school and the younger boys that are coming behind them who now want to follow in their footsteps. They have become not only role models in the school but also within the Community of New Ross.
5. Sianna Ni Dhuibheagain, Meanscoil Gharman, Inis Cortaigh. (Special Achievement)
In 2015 Sianna’s mum fell ill. Sianna has had to deal with her mum being sick and having to care for her at a very young age. Sianna is the oldest and has the responsibility of looking after her family, helping with housework, in a way no 13 year old should ever have to while also attending online classes. She gets up early, checks on her mum, help her dress, then prepares meals while doing housework. In the evenings she helps her dad prepare the evening meal and helps her mam any way she can. Sianna started first Year in Meanscoil Gharman but never got to meet her classmates in person due to the risks posed by Covid-19. She was robbed of the chance to make new friends the normal way, get to know her teachers, play sport, join clubs normally associated with growing up and developing a skillset. Despite all these challenges Sianna is a wonderfully positive girl. In the face of difficulty she smiles and says “Mum, everyone would do the same”. Sianna has had to grow up way before het time but has taken on this challenge with grace and humility.
6. Liam “Oggie” Doyle, New Ross (Individual Award)
Oggie has overcome so much in the past year. Oggie unfortunately has experienced a lot of sadness since January. First of all one of his family members went missing off a boat in January and unfortunately lost his life. He also lost his friend to suicide last March as she sadly lost her battle with Mental Health. Oggie then began to have his own struggles both physically and mentally. While he hid these from others he built up the courage to admit that he was not ok and needed help. Oggie began counselling and getting the help that he needed. In January 2021, Oggie decided he wanted to set up a fundraiser for Pieta House. He wanted to run, walk or cycle 100km in 10 days. Oggie picked one person to run, walk or cycle with him each day. Oggie set up a fundraiser page on Facebook with a goal of raising €150. Within 8 minutes Oggie reached this target and by the end of the 10 days Oggie raised a massive €23,500 for Pieta House. Oggie received many messages of praise and donations from all over Ireland and indeed the world. This was and continues to be an emotional journey for Oggie which he now shares selflessly with his peers and the community. Oggie has also taken part in a Podcast for Movement More hosted by Adam Swan, where he opens up about his struggles and goes through his journey in-depth. He is also in the process of giving talks in his old Secondary School to promote Mental Health and how it’s ok to ask for help.
7. Roma Youth Group, FDYS, Island Road, Enniscorthy (Group Award)
Roma Youth Group in the FDYS have made such a positive contribution to their community by getting involved in Local, National and International Projects. At a Local Level this group is leading a project called stronger together, aimed to Wexfords young people to celebrate cultural diversity. At National Level the Roma Youth Group is participating at different consultative process, including the last one for the United Nations CERD (Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination). At International Level the Roma Youth group through the FDYS coordinated a youth exchange with Romania, Spain and Greece. This youth exchange took place in Transylvania and Romania. All of their actions are voluntarily made. All of the projects are made by young people for young people. This is the case for the Roam Youth Group and their project “Stronger together”. They went beyond their own community and thought about other young people in County Wexford. An ordinary thing such as participating in a local youth group can be a barrier for a vulnerable community such as Roma. This youth group demonstrated desire to change and to break down barriers in local engagement and expanding this nationally and on the International Stage.
8. Jayna Zieda, Bunclody Vocational College, Wexford. Individual Award
Jayna joined Bunclody Vocational College in Transition Year 2020. She has integrated very well with the students in her Year. She has a very kind disposition offering her time and skills to support those in need. Jayna shows great passion for supporting causes that are very important to her. When embarking on these ventures her enthusiasm and energy are very evident and contagious to those involved. This Year Jayna joined the school Amber Flag Committee who were successful in achieving the Amber Flag for Bunclody Vocational College. The Pieta Amber Flag Initiative recognises the efforts of youth organisations to create healthy, inclusive environments that support mental well-being. A wide variety of events were organised by the committee in the school to achieve the Amber Flag and Jayna offered her time and services wholeheartedly. A key role she was involved in was organising all first year students to engage with the Jerusalem Dance which was videoed and shared on all school media. Jayna showed great patience and understanding when engaging with these students raising €1000 for Pieta House. Jayna went on to raise a further €2850 for Pieta House during Christmas 2020 by decorating the exterior of their house. Jayna has developed numerous methods of fundraising and shows an incredible awareness of the importance of supporting such essential organisations that care for vulnerable members of our society.
9. Harry Nolan, Enniscorthy Wexford. (National Winner – Community Safety Award)
The Enniscorthy Defibrillator Initiative was set up in 2017. There are now 14 defibrillators in the Enniscorthy District. Harry Nolan, a 17 year old CBS Student, already a member of Enniscorthy Red Cross volunteered to look after the defibrillator in his school. He noticed that there was a huge need for a locator app for defibrillators in the Enniscorthy District. It was agreed to research this possibility and to use Enniscorthy District as a pilot scheme. Harry researched this area for a number of months, looking at various apps available but finally decided on the pulsepoint aed app. This app has made the locations of defibrillators very straight forward on the flick of a button. It is downloaded on phones and then click the pulsepoint aed icon, simple as that.
The software was developed by pulsepoint.org in the USA. This charity organisation provided the use of the app free of charge. Harry rang the company several times having to make the calls late at night, before any work was advanced. He contacted the company using E-Mail to discuss functionability etc. and if the Initiative could use the infographics which they produced. Harry had to customise the pulsepoint aed app for the Enniscorthy District as a pilot scheme. He had to travel to take photographs of the defibrillators in the various locations, sometimes walking miles to do so and then upload the information on the system and download google maps images also. Since the app went live approx. 80 defibrillators have been registered to the system, amazing in such a short period of time. Harry Nolan already has plans in place when the Enniscorthy District pilot scheme is finalised to go nationwide with the pulsepoint aed app. There is no doubt, Harry’s ingenuity and determination will save lives.
10. Oisin Mullett, Enniscorthy, Wexford (National Winner – Special Achievement)
Oisin has Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is non-verbal. For most of his time in primary school everyone (including Educational Psychologists) believed that he had low mental functioning and was academically unable. When Oisin was 11 years old it was discovered through RPM (Rapid Promoting Method) that Oisin has a high academic and cognitive ability, a very strong intellect and has always been fully aware of the world around him. Up to that point he had just been unable to communicate with others. RPM is a system that Oisin uses to poit to letters on an A-Z laminate sheet to spell out his thoughts. Oisin is at present in 3rd Year in Enniscorthy Vocational College and will take Higher Level subjects for his Junior Certificate including Maths and Science.
Through RPM Oisin has been able to explain what it’s like as a child when he could not communicate with others despite being fully aware of everything going on around him. He says he was trapped in his body and unable to speak despite having lots to say. He explains that his faith is what got him through those dark days and speaks of his torment, isolation and loneliness he felt throughout those years. He explains that it was a life changing moment when he was introduced to RPM because now he has a connection to people and a life that he did not think was possible.
When you read a passage that Oisin has written it serves an inspiration to think of a child who was trapped in a body, alone, with no way to communicate and how he held on to his belief that life had a greater purpose for him. It serves to remind us that however hard life becomes that we must endure because better days are always ahead.