A number of Granard students took part in the Young Social Innovators Speak Out that took place in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone earlier this week as part of the 2017 YSI Speak Out Tour which will visit 8 counties throughout March.
The Speak Out Tour, supported by Ulster Bank, is part of the YSI of the Year Awards which challenge young people to think differently and come up with ways to tackle social issues affecting them.
Across the country, 6,800 students, making up a total of 456 teams, including the Granard team, are participating in the YSI programme.
Of these teams, 11 will be shortlisted to compete for the national title of Young Social Innovators of the Year on the May 11 in the Convention Centre, Dublin.
Social innovations address human need such as homelessness, poverty, exclusion, racism and immigration – issues high on the social and political agenda in Ireland and across the world today.
The Speak Out Tour gives these young people the opportunity to advocate around such issues and demonstrate how they are coming up with responses and solutions to real life issues.
The format of the event is a two minute presentation by teams on stage to an audience of their peers, invited guests and a YSI Panel.
The teams that presented at the Speak Out in Athlone spoke on a wide range of issues including mental health, sign language awareness, farm safety and body image.
“YSI empowers young people to be social innovators recognising and harnessing their talents and ideas to address social need,” said CEO of Young Social Innovators, Rachel Collier.
“The enthusiasm we see year on year during the Speak Out Tour shows there is a huge appetite among young people in Ireland for social justice and fairness, in particular in this time of huge social upheaval across the world.
“Our recently launched strategy outlines our goal that by 2020, we want to see that half of Ireland’s teenagers have the necessary skills to use their talent, knowledge and resources to find solutions to these large issues in society