Five volunteers from Longford attend national Foroige conference

Lana Fallon

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Lana Fallon

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Five volunteers from Longford attend national Foroige conference

Front, L-R: Ruth McGarry Quinn, Carmel Norton, Linda Guy, Geraldine McKeon. Back: Joe Quinn.

Foroige volunteers from around Ireland gathered in Hotel Kilkenny last weekend, 19th-21st October 2018, for Foroige's annual volunteer conference. Ruth McGarry Quinn, Carmel Norton, Linda Guy, Geraldine McKeon & Joe Quinn attended from Longford.

Foroige as over 5,500 volunteers working in 600 youth clubs, 160 projects and programmes such as the Aldi Foroige Youth Citizenship Programme; Leadership for Life; Be Healthy Be Happy; and Entrepreneurship. They are instrumental to Foroige's engagement with over 50,000 young people, or one in ten Irish teenagers, year on year.

This was the 48th annual Foroige volunteer conference and the delegates enjoyed a variety of guest speakers, workshops, and the exchange ideas on the best practice in youth work.

David O'Reilly, Chairperson of the National Council of Foroige, speaking at the conference, said: "Foroige volunteers are extremely special. They are thoroughly dedicated to providing young people with opportunities which will empower them to reach their full potential in a safe and understanding place. Without our army of volunteers a gaping hole would exist in youth work in Ireland and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every volunteer who braves the winter nights, becomes a mentor, and empowers Ireland's young people to believe in their own potential.

"Last year, volunteers in Foroige gifted almost 400,000 hours to help support and develop young people the length and breadth of Ireland. This type of commitment doesn't just happen, it must be co-ordinated and given the support it deserves."

Dr Mark Brennan, Professor and UNESCO Chair in Community, Leadership, and Youth Development, at Pennsylvania State University, speaking at the conference said: "Community is developed, created and recreated through social interaction. Local people through interacting and effective community leadership have the power to transform and change society. Volunteering can be central to developing a strong backbone to communities and moulding them into the best they can be. I commend each and every person in this room for making themselves accountable for creating a world where young people not only survive, but thrive."