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March 2, 2020 young people speak out
Young Social Innovators calls on young people to be a force for good

Building a nationwide movement of creative, caring and engaged citizens among Ireland’s young people will be to the fore of the Young Social Innovators Speak Out Tour 2020, which launches today (02.03.20) in the Mansion House, Dublin. The event will see 700 young people speak out about local, national and international issues, and aims to promote participatory democracy among that age group.

Throughout March, some 6,000 teenagers will attend 15 regional Speak Out events, where they will make two-minute presentations, outlining their social innovation projects that tackle a diverse range of challenges faced by society today. These include physical and mental health, housing and homelessness, gender equality, disability and inclusion, and climate change and sustainability.

Now in its 19th year, YSI engages young people in designing solutions to issues impacting them, their communities and wider society. It amplifies the voice of young people and promotes community engagement, civic action and participatory democracy among Ireland’s youth. In this way, YSI builds social capital and recognises the valuable contribution that young people can make to their communities and beyond.

At today’s event, second-level students from schools in Dublin and Meath will outline their innovative ideas on a range of social issues. Topics include:

  • Ashbourne Community School, Ashbourne, Co Meath: Raising wheelchair awareness.
  • Dominican College, Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9: Catcalling or compliment?
  • Rosmini Community School Dublin, Drumcondra, Dublin 9: Kindness to the elderly counts.
  • Kishoge Community College, Lucan, Co Dublin: School stress and mental health.

Co-founder and CEO of Young Social Innovators, Rachel Collier said: “Young Social Innovators is working with schools and young people throughout Ireland to build a force of responsible leaders, innovators and citizens – a force for good in Ireland. Thousands of teenagers are creating new ideas, products, campaigns and much more, all of which aim to improve the lives of people and the environment. Through our annual Speak Out Tour, we bring young people and their ideas together, harnessing their social consciousness and their ambition for a better and fairer world.”

Against the backdrop of ongoing government formation, YSI is also calling on young people to make sure they have their voices heard at a political level by introducing themselves and their issues to newly elected representatives.

Ms Collier said: “Increasing levels of civic participation, astute political awareness and a sense of social obligation are plain to see among Ireland’s young people today. Across a range of urgent issues, Ireland’s young people have valuable contributions to make about issues that directly affect them. Their views should be listened to, and their potential acknowledged. While the Speak Out Tour offers a platform and a space for young people to share ideas, we are also calling on them to introduce themselves to their local TDs and councillors. While many of our teenagers are not of voting age, they have plenty to contribute in reshaping our thinking and practices, and building a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable world.”

YSI will again be conducting research for the YSI / Amárach Research Gen Z Index at this year’s Speak Outs to gauge the views of young people on a range of issues, including education and work, and religion and spirituality. A key finding of last year’s research of 16-to-21-year-olds revealed that two in five of Ireland’s young people saw making a difference to their community or world as the greatest sign of a successful life.

For more information, visit www.youngsocialinnovators.ie.

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