Share this article:
Young Social Innovators (YSI) is Ireland’s largest youth-led social innovation programme. Targeting young people in second level education, YSI programmes support them and their educators to develop innovative solutions to tackle social issues in their communities and wider society.
Social innovation is “the practice of using creativity to develop solutions which improve the wellbeing of people and society” Young Social Innovators
In order to tackle today’s societal issues, it is essential to think creatively. Social innovation is a process that can help us to address local, national and global challenges such as inequality, poverty, climate change, racism, unemployment, suicide, mass migration, integration, loneliness amongst others. Young Social Innovators recognises that young people have the potential to solve issues in an innovative way, and to contribute to society when given the opportunity.
YSI’s Senior Action Programme takes place over an academic year and provides educators and teams of young people with the tools necessary to lead social innovation action projects in their own communities. In May each year, these teams of innovators are recognised for their amazing efforts at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards. Projects are recognised for excellence in various categories or challenges.
With support from the Construction Industry Federation, teams in the Making Our Community Better challenge build and support their communities by increasing knowledge, mapping services and amenities, improving local facilities and lobbying relevant people and organisations to enhance their communities.
In 2016, the winning team for the Making Our Community Better challenge, Hares on the March Waterford from Newtown School, Co. Waterford wanted to raise awareness of the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation and carried out a broad range of innovative fund-raising activities in their local community including a photo exhibition, art trail, business briefings and school visits. They hosted a design competition, engaged four schools and a community group to decorate hare sculptures, placed around Waterford, and designed a 5km fitness trail around these hares, inviting 5,000+ students to take part. The team raised over €13,500 for the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation.
The story of Hares on the March provides a snapshot of what young social innovators around the country are achieving through involvement in YSI. 524 second level schools are in YSI’s network and over 120,000 teenagers have already taken part in its programmes.
Young people are capable of so much, and with support from organisations such as the Construction Industry Federation, they will continue to rise to the challenge and create innovative solutions to effectively challenge today’s issues.
Visit www.youngsocialinnovators.ie for more information
CEO & Co-Founder, Young Social Innovators.