Three projects from Westmeath achieved due recognition at the recent Aldi Foróige Youth Citizenship awards ceremony which took place in the National Indoor Arena, Blanchardstown.
Castledaly Foróige Club, District Foróige Club and Jack Slevin were all acknowledged for their contributions to their respective communities through their creativity and project awareness.
Castledaly Foróige Club noticed that there was no focal point in the village for Christmas, there were no Christmas lights, tree or crib. They decided to brighten up the village as their Aldi Foróige Youth Citizenship project. They chose to put up a Christmas tree and Christmas themed decorations with lights. They also painted and decorated pallets to create environmentally friendly Christmas themed street art. The community was delighted with their efforts.
District Foróige Club held an open dance night after researching the link between sensory stimulation from dancing, and the release of endorphins. In advance of the event, the young people surveyed students in their local secondary school to get a better understanding of how listening to music and dancing made people feel better. They also created tie dye t-shirts for people to wear at the event after researching the benefits of colour for mental health. The open night was a huge success and the group plan to incorporate dancing into their lives on an ongoing basis.
Promoting mental health awareness, Jack Slevin carried out research into people’s attitudes to the pertinent issue locally via a questionnaire. He discovered that there is a mental health issue within his locality and that there isn’t enough being done about it. He decided to make a mental health presentation to his GAA teammates and the coaching team on what he had learned about mental health.
This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the Youth Citizenship Programme, which was first run by Foróige in 1969 and has been the biggest year for the programme to date, with over 14,000 young people taking part.
More than 2,000 young people, representing every county, descended on the national sports campus to celebrate and showcase their community action projects at the awards. IN excess of 200 youth groups took part, having worked on citizenship projects focused on improving the entrants’ local communities in areas such as equality, homelessness, climate change, social inclusion, community events, mental health and culture.