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Two groups of Westmeath teenagers have made it through to the televised finals of a major national competition.
From 140 projects around Ireland, the Foróige Gateway Youth Project in Athlone and Rosemount Foróige Club are now in the finals of the permanent tsb Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards along with eight other groups. The finals will be broadcast on TV3 in November.
The announcement was made in the RDS, Dublin at a national showcase of community projects which was attended by thousands of young people.
The Rosemount entry centred on the important subject of farm safety while the Gateway Club entered a project aimed at raising awareness around the issue of suicide.
Group member Deirdre Campbell said the group tried to dispel the stigma associated with mental health:
"We established a suicide awareness movement and after that we wrote, directed and produced a two-act play. The play was approved by a professional counsellor and it centred on bereavement through suicide.
"Of course we acted in the play ourselves and the feedback we got from the other young people who watched it was amazing. Those who saw it have a better understanding of the subject and we definitely do after putting together this project.
"We can't believe that we're now in the final, we're kind of in shock. All the hard work and months of preparation have really paid off. We can't wait for the finals in November and the fact that it will be on TV makes it even more exciting."
The projects at the exhibition came from all over the country and they faced up to all sorts of issues including Homophobic Bullying, Rural Isolation, Farm Safety, Suicide Prevention, Youth Mental Health, Healthy Living, Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Poverty and Disability, Anti-Smoking, Animal Welfare and Social Inclusion.
Paul Maher, Chairperson, National Council of Foróige said:
“Foróige’s Citizenship Programme supports and encourages young people to be catalysts for positive change to enhance communities both at home and abroad. This youth expo presents a highly compelling insight into an honest and self aware group of teens who are highly motivated and engaged members of society."
Niall O’Grady, Head of Marketing at permanent tsb said:
"We are delighted to be involved in the Citizenship Programme in association with Foróige and to celebrate all that is positive about young people. Our association with Youth Expo and the citizenship programme allows us to support the local communities where we do our business.”
Four other Foróige groups from County Westmeath submitted projects but on this occasion they didn't quite make it through to the finals. They are:
1. St. Joseph’s Foróige Club, Co. Westmeath: A summer cleanup project targeting a local amenity.
2. Tubberclair Foróige Club, Co. Westmeath: A Christmas craft fair to help boost the local economy.
3. CSI Foróige Club, Co. Westmeath: A Children’s Rights Referendum awareness campaign.
4. Coralstown Foróige Club, Co. Westmeath: An Easter egg hunt for the local community.
For further information please contact:
Jerome Hughes, Foróige Media Officer
086 197 4392
Foróige is the leading and largest youth organisation in Ireland. The charity works with 64,000 young people and 5,500 adult volunteers annually, through a network of more than 600 youth clubs & cafés, 154 targeted projects and national programmes such as Citizenship, Entrepreneurship and Leadership.
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