Ballina school vies for national social innovators title

St Mary’s Secondary School, Ballina, has been shortlisted for the ninth Young Social Innovators’ Showcase and Awards, which take place in Croke Park on May 5 next. Its project, “Fusion V” looks at ways of increasing youth involvement in the community.

This year more than 6,000 young people participated in Young Social Innovators’ project-based social action programme for 15 to 18-year-olds, the largest of its kind in Ireland. They undertook some 400 projects tackling issues of concern to them, their community, or the world at large. Sixty projects have been shortlisted for the annual showcase where they will be in contention for the Young Social Innovator Awards 2010. They include the establishment of a youth café in Blarney, Co Cork, a knife crime campaign in Dublin, and a campaign to turn New Ross into a Fair Trade town.

Announcing details of this year’s shortlist, Rachel Collier, co-founder and chief executive, Young Social Innovators, said that the judges were particularly impressed this year by the breadth and quality of the initiatives undertaken by the young people. “The scale and innovativeness of the projects increases each year as young people, aware of what their predecessors accomplished, seek to go further, to achieve that little bit more,” she said.

More than 30,000 young people have been involved in social action projects through Young Social Innovators since it began in 2002. Funded through sponsorship, the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs is its main sponsor with additional support received from the Department of Education and Skills, the HSE, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Irish Aid, Religious Sisters of Charity, KPMG, the Department of Social Protection, and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

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