Teenagers' efforts are honoured
The community-spirited teenagers of Ballinaclash Foroige Club have been honoured at the Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards 2015.
The group were among 10,000 young people from around the country who participated in the Foróige Youth Citizenship Programme this year and 1,500 of those travelled to Dublin recently to display their community enhancement projects at the action-packed awards in the RDS.
In recent years, the annual children's Christmas party which Ballinaclash Foroige Club usually run had not been successful.
This caused the young people to want to 'up their game' which brought about the idea of a turning on the lights ceremony. Led by Foróige volunteer Bernadette Tyrrell, the 13-strong group did some research and realised they were the only community in the area that did not already have this. At that point, they decided that they would organise an event that would bring all members of the community, young and old, together to celebrate the switching on of the Christmas lights.
To ensure a fun occasion, they also organised a DJ, had a Christmas wish line (which saw children write down their Christmas wish and hang it on a line under the Christmas tree) and two members even dressed up as Christmas trees!
Afterwards, there was a party in the local hall with lots of games for the children. There was a greater attendance than expected and Santa himself even made an appearance.
The Youth Citizenship Awards celebrate the positive contributions young people make to society through their voluntary involvement in the Foróige Youth Citizenship Programme. A wide variety of issues were tackled through the projects displayed at the awards including rural isolation, suicide prevention, youth mental health, healthy living, drug and alcohol awareness, poverty and disability, anti-smoking, homophobic bullying, social inclusion and many more topics of concern to today's young people.
'These projects showcase citizenship at its very best - the young people researched the needs of their area and created simple yet effective and engaging projects that have benefited their community greatly,' said Foróige Chairperson Michael Lynskey.