Young Social Innovators from St. Munchin’s College, Limerick advocate for Team Limerick Cleanup at the Lime Tree Theatre. Pictured with Richard Lynch at the Speak Out were Jack Kingston, Sean Skelton, Andrew Tierney and Luke Culhane of #CreateNoHate. Picture: Derek Speirs.
21 schools have taken part in the Young Social Innovators Speak Out that took place in Limerick as part of the YSI Speak Out Tour 2016 which will visit seven counties throughout March and April. The Speak Out Tour is part of the Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards supported by Ulster Bank.
Over 6,500 students throughout Ireland are taking part in Young Social Innovators this year working
in 450 teams to tackle social issues affecting them and their communities. 60 teams will be shortlisted to compete for the national title of Young Social Innovators of the Year on the 10th of May 2016 in Citywest Hotel and Convention Centre. Young Social Innovators challenges young people to work within their communities to identify areas of need and to come up with and implement solutions for positive social change.
The Speak Out Tour gives young innovators the opportunity to come together to present their creative ideas and actions as well as a chance to see what other teams are doing to tackle their chosen social issues. Teams are given two minutes on stage to present their social innovation to an audience of their peers, invited guests and a YSI Panel. The events give teenagers a platform and voice in society and a way of contributing to real life issues impacting on lives around Ireland and beyond. The teams that presented at the Speak Out in Lime Tree Theatre Limerick spoke on a wide range of issues including mental health, body image, autism and sexual and gender identity.
The guest speakers for the Limerick event were Richard Lynch of I Love Limerick and Luke Culhane from #createnohate, whose video about cyberbullying has gone viral and has been watched all over the globe.
The Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards is now in its 15th year. This year, 6,500 teenagers are working on 450 projects from 211 schools looking at a very diverse range of issues including integration, equality, crime, health, safety, homelessness, intergenerational initiatives and more. CEO of Young Social Innovators, Rachel Collier said: “YSI offers a unique opportunity for young people enabling them to grapple with difficult social issues, advocate reform and advance change. This experience boosts their ability to deal with uncertainty and change, a hallmark of today’s world.
YSI prepares young people for life and work and has both social and commercial value. We want young people to become innovators in their own lives and be resourceful in creating positive change and solutions in the world around them. The energy felt at these events must be experienced and we wish all the participants the best of luck in progressing their projects and continuing to advocate for change in their communities. We are of course grateful to Ulster Bank and all our partners for their support and look forward to increasing our reach and impact into the future.” Ulster Bank’s partnership with the programme is part of its ongoing commitment to fostering social innovation and entrepreneurship from a young age, and to build on its strong community legacy of education evident in its MoneySense and Skills & Opportunities fund programmes.
Speaking about YSI and the Speak Out Tour, Cathal Daly, Regional Manager, Retail Banking, Ulster Bank said: “One of Ulster Bank’s goals as a business is to enable growth through innovation which is why we’ve focused investment on financial education, entrepreneurship and skills programmes for young people. We want to inspire a new generation of social innovators. Our partnership with YSI extends beyond financial support, to include volunteering our business skills and insights – from our experience working in communities across the country – to help raise the voices of our talented youth who hold the future of positive change in this country in their hands.”
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