Young Social Innovators from Colaiste Nano Nagle

Young Social Innovators from Colaiste Nano Nagle

Pictured Above: Transition Year students presenting a television. a radio, informative posters and butterfly artwork for the lactation room to the midwives in the neo-natal unit in the Limerick Maternity Hospital on Wednesday April 22.

The inspirational Transition Year Students from Coláiste Nano Nagle have been raising funds for the neo natal unit in the University Maternity Hospital in Limerick since Christmas, for their Young Social Innovators (YSI) project. Young Social Innovators encourage, motivates and creates new opportunities for young people to actively participate in the world around them, whether through volunteerism, community service, service-learning, citizenship education, social entrepreneurship and innovation. 

The project was inspired by the experiences of the students’ science teacher, Ms. Madigan, as she described her experience of what it was like to spend time with a tiny premature baby in the neo natal unit at Christmas time. They were touched by her story and the words that she used struck a chord with the youths and encouraged them to choose this topic as their Young Social Innovators action project. They wanted to make a difference in the lives of the families who had a premature baby spending their first Christmas in hospital surrounded by medical equipment.

The students liaised with midwife Deirdre O’Connell in the neo natal unit throughout this project and she was so helpful and gave them great advice. They wanted to add some Christmas spirit and Christmas cheer to the neo natal unit, and so began knitting. They created Christmas outfits and decorations for the new born babies and their families. This led onto looking at making change on a more permanent basis in the unit by putting the stamp of Coláiste Nano Nagle on the lactation room in the unit through various fundraising initiatives. The fundraising allowed them to purchase a television and a radio for the lactation room, giving the new mothers some welcome home comforts in what is currently a bland space surrounded with medical equipment and a sterile environment. They framed informative posters on breastfeeding and the breast pump rental scheme. They also put up posters detailing the lives and the progress that premature babies had made all around Ireland titled ‘then and now’, which were sourced from the Irish Premature Babies Association. They also created and designed artwork made up of four butterfly canvases to hang in the room. “The butterflies represent both ‘transformation’ and ‘hope’ that we hope can provide some inspiration for the new mothers,” student Danielle Lynch explained. 

The midwives at Limerick Maternity Hospital described the difference the students’ actions have and will make: “We are at a loss to explain the emotion and gratitude the families expressed when they received your Christmas gifts, that second level students would have the knowledge, respect and awareness of little premature babies whose early lives are spent surrounded by medical equipment and a sterile environment. They will always be remembered, especially at Christmas time. The improvements to the lactation room will help the new mothers to express their break milk which is lifesaving liquid gold for our vulnerable babies. The mothers spend a lot of time in this room and it will not be a more comfortable and enjoyable space for them to be in.”  

The students wanted to thank Ms. Madigan for her support and guidance during this project, as well as all the staff and students at Coláiste Nano Nagle who donated to such a wonderful cause. 

This project has qualified the girls to take part in the finals of the Young Social Innovators competition, and the girls will be doing a three-minute speak out in Citywest Hotel in Dublin on May 6 against sixty other schools from all over Ireland. Congrats to all these inspiring, amazing girls. You all define the true spirit of giving and what makes our beloved city so great! 

You can check out Colaiste Nano Nagle on their website here. You can also find them on Twitter here.
Read more about the school here
Check out Young Social Innovators on their website here.
You can also check out their Facebook here, and their Twitter here.

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