Tuesday kicked off the Young Social Innovators Speak Out Tour 2018 Dublin. The Speak Out Tour brings together all the young social innovators in Ireland who participated in the project in 2018. Throughout the month of March, the YSI Speak Out Tour will travel 2,000 kilometers around the country and hear 7,000 young people speak out about the issues that they are concerned with and the innovations they are undertaking to address them. SpunOut staff and volunteer reporters will be working at several of the SpeakOut events around the county over the next two weeks, reporting on the variety of YSI projects on show.
Young Social Innovators
Young Social Innovators (YSI) promotes education for social innovation. YSI aim to give young people the opportunity to use their creativity to respond to social issues and contribute to building a fairer, more caring and equal society. YSI asks young people to try and imagine the type of society they would like to live in and then challenges them to put their ideas into practice to help bring their vision into reality.
Speak Out Tour 2018 Dublin
The Speak Out Tour 2018 began on Tuesday, 6 March at the Mansion House Dublin with 30 YSI groups taking part. This year groups showcased their projects which covered a range of themes from LGBTI+ and gender issues to drug and alcohol awareness and inclusion. Here are the highlights of what the first day of the Speak Out 2018 Tour had to offer.
Innovation for the environment
A group of young social innovators from the Donahies Community School chose to tackle the issue of waste with their campaign “Don’t Throw Away, Give Away”. The project used upcycling and recycling to turn unwanted clothes and good into positive change in their community. Educating students in their school through waste workshops, they collected clothes and goods which they donated to a local homeless charity. The work did not stop at their school as the students also challenge wastefulness in their local community. They worked with Tiger, collecting their excess goods and food and donating them to charity and also set up a scheme with their local McDonald's. The group collected customer's McDonald's coffee cup loyalty cards and traded them in with McDonald's in exchange for a cash donation to a homeless charity.
YSI group from the Donahies Community School Dublin 13
Standing up for LGBTI+ rights and gender issues
LGBTI+ rights were championed by a group of YSI students from St Raphaela's, Kilmacud. Identifying that LGBTI+ rights were not included in their SPHE curriculum they started a petition to influence change. The students' aim is to receive over 200 signatures on their petition in support of adding LGBTI+ rights to the SPHE curriculum. Once they have achieved this the group will petition the Educational Company, CJ Fallons and the Department of Education to include a section on LGBTI+ rights in textbooks.
Another YSI group from Maryfield College, Drumcondra tackled the issue of gender inequality and stereotypes. Maryfield’s project “Genderalisation” questioned the gender stereotypes which influenced school subject choice in their school. The group created social change through a “Genderalisation” fair and by conducting a survey asking students about the subjects they would like to see on the curriculum. As a result of their innovation their school has decided to give the option of applied maths as a subject from September 2018.
YSI students from Maryfield College, Drumcondra
Tackling homelessness and poverty in local communities
Beginning the YSI event a group from Luttrellstown Community College brought their work to life through a spoken word piece on the homelessness crisis in Dublin. As part of their project they created care packages which they then handed out to homeless people living on the streets of Dublin.
Another YSI project from Maryfield College, Drumcondra wanted to challenge child poverty in Ireland. In 2016 11.1% of the children across Ireland were living in poverty. The students identified the unnecessary high costs of books, uniforms and enrollment fees in their school which could keep students out of education and question what they could do to create change. They are currently trying to implement a book rental scheme in their school to cut down on the costs of new books each year.
Promoting nationality inclusion
A YSI group from Fingal Community College chose to create greater nationality inclusion in their school. Conducting a survey about the nationalities in their school they asked students where they were from, where their parents were from and if they spoke their parents native language. The survey found that the school had a mix of over 40 different nationalities. To promote inclusion and integration the group created a multicultural reading area in the school, where students could donate books in their native language.
YSI students from Fingal Community College, Swords
Understanding consent and online safety
Students from Coláiste Bríde challenged their own ideas surrounding online safety and who to trust when sending nudes. Their campaign "Comprehend before you send" urged students to consider the risks which come from sending naked pictures to even those whom you trust.
Students from Manor Hourse School, Raheny also challenged their beliefs surrounding consent with their YSI project "Don't go with it, say no to it". They invited speakers from the Rape Crisis Centre and An Garda Síochanna to their school to speak to students about the importance of consensual sex.
Standing up for positive mental health
The YSI group at Mercy College Coolock noticed the struggle which many students were having with mental health issues and chose to focus their project on anxiety. Entitled "From Worriers to Warriors" they group worked to decrease student’s levels of stress and anxiety. To do this they held relaxation activities such as yoga and gave out hot chocolate to students sitting their mocks. Students also worked to implement positive change in their school by inviting Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton in to lobby him to make Wellbeing a subject at secondary level.
Next stops on the Speak Out Tour
- Munster Speak Out: Cork City Hall, Thursday 8th March
- North Leinster Speak Out: Louth – TLT Drogheda, Tuesday 13th March
- Connacht Speak Out: Galway – Shearwater Hotel, Ballinasloe, Wednesday 14th & Thursday 15th March
- South Dublin Speak Out: Dublin – Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Tuesday 20th March
- South Leinster Speak Out: Kilkenny – Lyrath Estate Convention Centre, Wednesday 21st March
- North Munster Speak Out: Limerick – Castletroy Park Hotel, Thursday 22nd March