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Coláiste Muire YSI tem celebrate their national success. Photograph by Naoise Culhane.

Ennis girls win Young Social Innovators Award

YSI Team from Coláiste Muire, Ennis has been named the “Young Social Innovators of the Year 2014”. Their project Beware of IT aims to educate young people about the increasing dangers associated with internet usage.

The Ennis students’ project was one of over 400 youth-led social innovation projects undertaken this year in over 200 second level schools and youth organisations throughout Ireland.

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, co-founder, Young Social Innovators and Anne O’Leary, CEO Vodafone Ireland presented the winning team with their award at a ceremony in Dublin following the 13th Young Social Innovators Annual Showcase, which was supported by the Vodafone Ireland Foundation. The prize for the Ennis team inclued €1,500 to develop their project.

Runners-up were Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road, Co. Cork for their project on Sexual Assault Must Come To A Halt.

Congratulating the award winners and all the participants in this year’s YSI Social Innovation Programme, Sr Stan said “ Social Innovation champions youth led, experiential learning. It’s ‘hands on’ active citizenship. Civic engagement should always be a core part of youth development and education. It’s learning for life and work but fundamentally it is learning about how you connect to the people around you.”

Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone Ireland, said, “We’re delighted and very proud to support Young Social Innovators. This is a uniquely rewarding opportunity for young people to make a real difference to society. We continue to be hugely impressed with the far reaching scope and creativity of your initiatives. You deserve our support, encouragement and our respect. We all stand to benefit from your actions if we nurture the ideas and the attitude showcased here today,” she continued.

Speaking on the impact of social innovation education at the Showcase, Rachel Collier, Co-founder and Chief Executive, YSI called for all young people to be given the opportunity to participate in a social innovation programme. “As a society we are facing huge local and global challenges. Science and technology are helping us to develop innovative responses to many of these challenges. Education for social innovation is playing a critical role too, promoting innovation for social good –  advancing equality, fairness and social incluusion. This learning has to be a central part of the education for all young people in Ireland. It cannot be left to chance or as an optional module or course but as an integral part of youth development,” she said.


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