Twelve volunteers from Kilkenny attend national Foróige conference

Sian Moloughney

Reporter:

Sian Moloughney

Twelve volunteers from Kilkenny attend national Foróige conference

Back: Kevin Gleeson, Shauna Pollard, Emma Murphy, Brendan Delaney, James Campion, Lauren O’Meara, Patricia Healy, Rita McCabe. Front: Mairead Eachthigheirn, Gina Kennedy, John Sullivan, Arianna Doran

Foróige volunteers from all over Ireland gathered in the Hotel Kilkenny last weekend,  for Foróige’s annual volunteer conference.

Kevin Gleeson, Shauna Pollard, Emma Murphy, Brendan Delaney, James Campion, Lauren O’Meara, Patricia Healy, Rita McCabe, Mairead Eachthigheirn, Gina Kennedy, John Sullivan, & Arianna Doran attended from Kilkenny.

Mairead Eachthigheirn, John Sullivan, & Shauna Pollard all addressed the delegates from the podium to share their vast volunteering experience and expertise with the audience.

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

Above: Mairead Eachthigheirn, Piltown Foróige; Dr. Mark Brennan, Professor and UNESCO Chair in Community, Leadership, and Youth Development, at Pennsylvania State University; & John Sullivan, Cuffesgrange Foróige

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

David O’Reilly, Chairperson of the National Council of Foróige, speaking at the conference said “Foróige 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 space. Without our army of 5500 volunteers a gapping 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 Foróige 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 that 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.”