CAPTION: Chief Superintendent David Sheahan, Simone Dillon, Claire Gallery and Tracey Lynch of Tait House Community Enterprise, Paul O Connell, Rugby Legend, Vicki O’Toole, Managing Director of JJ O’Toole Ltd, Shane Mc Carthy, CEO of BlueChief and Helen O’Donnell, Chairperson Limerick Tidy Town (back), Richard Lynch, founder ILoveLimerick.com and Sinead Burke, Alternative Miss Ireland. (front) Picture: Jonathan Baynes
On Friday April 24, Tait House Community Enterprise (THCE) held a motivational Youth Conference called ‘INSPIRE’ at the University Concert Hall, designed to inspire and encourage Transition and 5th year students to discover what it is they are passionate about by giving them an opportunity to visualize what career paths could be open to them in the future. It is the second year of the hugely successful event.
Tait House Community Enterprise managed by CEO Tracey Lynch, is a community development co-operative whose mission is to generate enterprise, employment and training opportunities through the provision of services for the people of Limerick based at Collins Avenue, Roxboro Road.
At the event, important figures from various careers spoke about how their life experiences and background influenced their success. They stressed the importance of education and how to continue its momentum. They spoke about mental health and the need to not become disheartened by any perceived failures. They showed that success is not an overnight phenomena and the importance of support from family, friends and work colleagues.
The event was opened by Brendan G. Lane of THCE and MC for the event was Richard Lynch, the founder of ILoveLimerick.com who shared his own words of inspiration. Guest speakers included Helen O’Donnell, Limerick Person of the Year 2012 who spearheaded the Limerick Tidy Town campaign, David Sheahan, Chief Superintendent for Limerick City & County, Vicki O’Toole, Managing Director of JJ O’Toole Ltd, Shane Mc Carthy, CEO of BlueChief and rugby legend Paul O Connell.
Another extremely inspirational speaker at the event was Sinead Burke, the Alternative Miss Ireland who is a primary school teacher, broadcaster, and fashion blogger that has been making serious waves with her blog. At the height of 3’5” tall, Sinead is a true inspiration and defies all stereotypes. Sinead had a profound effect on all attending with stories of your journey, “When something goes wrong in your life, do you reach for a friend or for your phone to tweet?”. She added, “I wasn’t in the womb and checking the criteria – my size, female, white, Irish because it seems like it’d be a bit of craic. I had no choice over it. None of us did. When we’re judging each other we should think of that.”
Helen O’Donnell spoke at the event: “You can do anything you want to in life, you never know where your life will take you. Do what you can with your life because you have amazing opportunities. Set challenges for yourself, be happy. Have no regrets. Aim high and do the very best you can do.”
Richard Lynch and Tony Sheridan both urged the audience that when you’re feeling down in yourself, to give back and help the people around you. “When you give back to your community, it makes you feel super powerful. Words don’t inspire people, actions do,” Richard shared with the audience.
Paul O Connell who headlined the event said, “I reckon God’s a fairly good guy. I don’t believe he distributes talent to people before they’re born, God-given talent, I hear it all the time, and it is a myth. I believed it when I was young, and as I was good at swimming and not that good at soccer, I pursued swimming, and never joined a soccer club. The best you see at anything are the people who practice most. That’s a fact, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
Chief Superintendent David Sheahan talked about the many paths he explored before settling on the Gardai and his road to success and the feeling of hopelessness he experienced along the way. He also spoke very movingly about the importance of family.
The inspirational conference is aimed at young adults between the ages of 15 and 20. They got to hear first-hand accounts of where hard work, motivation and dedication can lead to. “My hope is that this event in some small way will assist the students to believe in themselves, will provide encouragement towards continued education in all its forms and teach them not to be afraid of failure. It is how we learn our most valuable lessons,” said Tracey Lynch of Tait House.
After the conference, the students had an opportunity to ask all of the guest speakers face-to-face any questions they might have. The day allowed educational institutions, businesses and individuals a chance to foster their educational agendas, enabling each student to discover their true potential and to give them the confidence and vision to achieve their dreams.
The aim of this conference is to inspire and motivate the young adults of tomorrow by learning from the adults of today. By nurturing their burgeoning achievements and sharing stories of great success we can create an environment for our young adults where education in all its forms is a worthy goal.
For more information, check out Tait House’s website here.
Read more about Tait House here.
Photos by Jonathan Baynes, copyright I Love Limerick 2015. All Rights Reserved.