Young Social Innovator (YS) Finalists 2017

Over 7,000 young people took part in Young Social Innovators 2017

Written by Conor McCreesh


Young Social Innovators (YSI) aims to creatively tackle social issues affecting young people and their communities. The Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards recognise and celebrate excellence in youth-led social innovation. At this year's Awards, almost 30 YSI teams were rewarded for their outstanding achievements in tackling social issues through social innovation. The awards took place on Thursday, May 11th at the Dublin Convention Centre. The 11 YSI teams below competed live on stage with the overall title of Young Social Innovators of the Year 2017 going to a group of students from Largy College, Co. Monaghan. Take a look at the finalists below to read more about the winners' and other finalists' projects.


Make Our World Healthier Challenge (Phyisical Health)

Institution: Eureka Secondary School, Kells, Co. Meath

Project Title:  Breaking the Borders around Eating Disorders

Short summary: The team's goal is to discard the stigma surrounding eating disorders and make the topic more widely discussed. Their first action was to create a social media presence on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to kick start their awareness campaign. They also filmed a short video and shared it on Facebook, it received an incredible reaction, reaching 5,000 views in two days. Their future plan is to develop a chapter in the new Health and Wellbeing course about eating disorders.


Make Our World Healthier Challenge (Mental Health)

Institution: Largy College, Analore Road Clones Co. Monaghan

Project Title: Mend A Mind – It's a disorder not a decision

Short summary: The team's goal is to raise awareness about mental health, in their school and community and to educate their community about the mental health issues that are most pertinent to young people.  They organised a community ‘Lighting up the Darkness’ walk which was attended by around 500 people. They also held a community event which included activities around physical activity, good nutrition, relaxation (de-stressing), socialising and talking to others. In the future they plan to hold a community 'High tea' event.  This would promote the idea that you should talk to someone if you are feeling low.


Relationships & Sexual Health Challenge

Institution: St. Angela's College, St. Patrick's Hill Cork

Project Title: Consent Matters

Short summary: The team's goal is to raise awareness about consent and to to help start the conversation about rape and consent among parents, teachers, politicians and, most importantly, students.  If people understand what it is and that it is vital in society, then they can prevent future rape cases and hopefully counteract the stigma surrounding rape. Their ultimate goal being to introduce sexual consent classes in schools. In the future they plan to hold a Parent's Information Evening to encourage parents to start the conversation about consent with their children and teach them that it's OK to say no. They are setting up a text line for the Sexual Violence Centre. They hope to contact the Minister for Education about how important sexual consent classes are and the possibility of implementing them in the future.

Make Our World Safer Challenge

Institution: Tullamore College, Riverside Tullamore Co. Offaly

Project Title: Think Safety, Farm Safely

Short summary: The goal of this project is to raise awareness about farm safety and to save lives. The team aimed to get all students, farmer or not, in their school to be able to identify all the common dangers on a farm and to know how to effectively contain these problems.  They feel very passionately about how important farm safety truly is to Irish farmers today. They designed and produced a passenger seat sensor to help prevent and reduce the amount of falls from farm machinery and tractors. Going forward they hope to expand their project to not only local farmers but also to farmers nationwide  They also aim to have their device sold nationally in order for it to reach its full potential and save lives.


Make Our Community Better Challenge

Institution: St. Mary's Secondary School, Convent of Mercy Ballina Co. Mayo

Project Title: Deal with the Wheels

Short summary: The goal of this project is to make the students local town, Ballina more wheelchair friendly and to educate the general public on the difficulties that wheelchair users in the local area face on a daily basis. They want to highlight the positives that the town possesses in relation to wheelchair accessibility such as wheelchair parking, ramps and wheelchair and accessible toilets in some businesses while also highlighting the  negatives such as people parking in wheelchair spaces and parking on footpaths. The are organizing a ‘Wheel Chair Day’ in their town. This will involve asking business owners and the public to get into a wheelchair and try make their way around the shops, to highlight the difficulties wheelchair users go through on a daily basis.


Step Up Challenge

Institution: Portmarnock Community School, Carrickhill Road Portmarnock Co. Dublin

Project Title: Global Citizens Mapping the Future

Short summary: The team plan to bring their app ‘Mobile Emergency’ offline. This app gives people access to emergency services at the click of a button. They plan to hold further Mapathons. A Mapathon is a session of intensive mapping, these make a massive impact. They plan to begin monthly mapathons which will last 12 hours. They will also expand their Peer to Peer Education System. They go to schools to teach them how to map and become teachers themselves. They follow the motto ‘Teach 3 people how to map, they teach 3 more, then you're on your way to changing the world!’


Make Our World A Better Place For Young People Challenge

Institution: Heywood Community School, Ballinakill Portlaoise Co. Laois

Project Title: Nascadh Le Chéile

Short summary: The goal of this YSI project is to make a tangible difference in the lives of as many people as possible, through the involvement of young people volunteering for various charities. They want to develop their project ‘Nascadh Le Cheile’ and aim at expanding their program to all 9 Secondary Schools in Laois. They want to grow their initiative and competition with the final goal of developing the project nationwide. In the future Nascadh Le Cheile want to expand their Volunteer of the Year initiative beyond Laois and make it into a National Programme that is run in schools all over Ireland. They want to continue to prove that young people are capable of making a difference and recognize their contributions to society.


Make Our World One World Challenge

Institution: Our Lady's College, Greenhills Drogheda Co. Louth

Project Title: Human Trafficking

Short summary: This YSI project is based on sex trafficking within Ireland. The team’s project goal is to make themselves and others more informed about the topic and to fundraise in a way that increases awareness of the issue. In the bigger picture they hope to reduce the number of people trafficked in Ireland. They also created links with people and organisations outside of school including the Immigrant Council of Ireland, ‘Turn Off The Red Light’, Ruhama and ‘Stop the Traffic’. In the future the team want to develop their relationship with Ruhama, Stop the Traffic and other sex trafficking organisations. They plan to fundraise annually while still at school and some of the group are interested in getting involved in the education and development area.


Make Our World Greener Challenge

Institution: C.B.S. Charleville, Bakers Road Charleville Co. Cork

Project Title: Ditch Your Carbon Cup Print

Short summary: The main aim of the project is to reduce Carbon Emissions (C02) locally and nationally by encouraging people to bring their own reusable cup and ditch the disposable paper cup when getting a take out beverage in garages and coffee outlets throughout the country. To kick start the idea, the students will organize a “Ditch Your Carbon Cup Print’ (DYCCP) week in the town of Charleville. It is hoped that, during the designated week, people will get a discount on a beverage when they bring their own reusable cup. Pending the success of their local  "Ditch Your Carbon Cup Print" week, the students hope that The ‘Ditch Your Carbon Cup Print’ week will provide a successful model which will be presented to the Department of the Environment and the EPA for consideration to be rolled out nationally. Such a campaign would be established as an annual designated week/fortnight held throughout the towns and villages of Ireland.


Make Our World Fair and Just Challenge

Institution: St. Joseph's College, Lucan Co. Dublin

Project Title: No Limits

Short summary: Their project has three main aims and an overall goal. The first is to show children with disabilities or special needs that nobody, including themselves, should ever put limits on their abilities and talents. The second aim is to make these children feel included in society by making them see through a specially written book that they are accepted. Their final message is to teach the young generation that people with disabilities have talents and should not be discriminated against or treated differently than everyone else. The ultimate goal is to improve the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in children’s literature. The group chose this social issue as two of the girls in the group have family members with disabilities/special needs. Their plan for the future is to continue writing more stories to educate people about different disabilities such as blindness, autism, etc. They are currently working on a  story about a character with Down Syndrome. They have received an order of 500 books from South Dublin County Council and 100 books from DCU Sport. They  have also been asked by South Dublin County Council to take part in their Social Inclusion Week and National Accessibility Week in October and November of this year.


Make Our Country More Inclusive and Poverty Free Challenge

Institution: St. Aidan's Community School, Brookfield Tallaght Dublin 24

Project Title: Intercultural Book Exchange

Short summary: The main goal of this project is to bring members of the community together to promote reading. This group use their school library a lot. They are all school journalists and write articles for the school website. They are very aware that a lot of students have parents and grandparents from several different countries and they want to acquire books for these students to read in their native language. The group are in the process of getting posters and flyers made also. They have acquired a lot of resources, books, bookshelves and posters and plan to develop the project more at the beginning of the year.


Goodluck and welldone to all the YSI teams both winners and the teams shorlisted for there outstanding achievements in tackling social issues through social innovation.

If you want to find out more information on the event and all the Young Social Innovators, you can here:

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