Abbey Vocational School
Donegal Town

Young Social Innovators

Young Social Innovators

What is Young Social Innovators?

Young Social Innovators (YSI) is a nationwide competition for secondary school students that challenges young people to have a positive impact on their community.

The purpose of YSI initiative is for young people to realise that you can be a powerful catalyst for social change when you are given the opportunity and support to do so.

2020 Project - Keeping Up With Reality

Issue of Social Concern:To assess the impact of reality TV and social media on the lives of young people.

Project Goal:Our goal is simple. We want young people to be happy in themselves, to stop comparing themselves to celebrities who have edited their photos to give the best version of themselves. That idea is unrealistic. Our big idea is getting more influencers on board with our campaign of uploading unfiltered pictures of themselves on Instagram with the hashtag #keepingupwithreality to show that it’s okay to be yourself and that you should be happy in your own body. At the end of the day, we are each our own celebrity because there is no one in the world quite like you.

Project in Brief: The main objective of this study is to see the positive and negative impact of social media and reality TV shows on teenagers. We will conduct a survey to gauge an understanding of how many students in our school watch reality TV and how they are influenced by it. We will use both quantitative and qualitative research methods to investigate our topic. We aim to get people talking about this issue that is prominent in our every day lives.

Overall Impact: The team won the YSI award for outstanding achievement in social and digital media. Over 200 celebrities and influencers got involved in their Instagram campaign and it received National coverage. An article was written by FamilyFriendlyHQ and one of our students got to speak on the Ray D’Arcy show as well as Louise Tigue’s show on Dublin’s 104fm and iRadio. Their campaign has helped to make young people aware of this issue and how they can combat it.

Instagram Handle: @keepingupwithreality2020

2021 Project - Unity in the Community

Issue of Social Concern:As a result of Covid-19, our world has dramatically changed. Social distancing has become our ‘new normal’ and unfortunately, it has had a major impact on the older generation. Due to government restrictions, many old people do not get to interact with family and friends. This is leading to isolation and loneliness which is a major issue of concern amongst elderly people.

Project Goal: The goal of the project is to combat loneliness and isolation amongst older people which has ultimately worsened due to Covid-19. Inspired by the launch of Captain Tom Moore’s podcast ‘The Originals’, we want to inspire young people to ‘donate their words’ and have meaningful conversations with older people.

Project in Brief:Our big idea for Unity in The Community is creative because we want to ensure that the older generation always have things to do and they are entertained during these difficult times. We did this by organising zoom calls into our local nursing home in Mullinalsole and arranged virtual activities such as bingo, quizzes and online concerts. We also set up a virtual fundraiser and raised €1000 for two charities – Friends of the Elderly and Age Action Ireland.

Overall Impact:The team were shortlisted for the YSI Awards 2021 in their category - Make our Country More Inclusive and Poverty Free Challenge. This was a fantastic achievement with nearly 200 teams entered in the competition. They also were nominated for the Donegal Youth Awards for their contribution to the local community.

Instagram Handle:@unityinthecommunity

2022 Project - Commotion in the Ocean

Social Issue of Concern: The social issue of concern our team has chosen to address is the impact of pollution on marine life. Oceans play an essential role in our life on earth. They provide us with over 50% of the oxygen we breathe and contribute to over 97% of the world's water supply. The pollution of our oceans not only affects marine life and their environment, but it also affects mankind. The equivalent of a bin lorry load of plastic is dumped in the sea every minute. This has resulted in over 150 million tonnes of plastic already floating in the sea. We want to play a part in addressing this issue.

Goal of Project:We hope to bring about awareness on how people can reduce their carbon footprint and in particular reduce the amount of pollution that is entering into our seas and oceans damaging marine life. Inspired by David Attenborough, “The ocean’s power of regeneration is remarkable – if we just offer it the chance”. We have this choice and together we can make this change.

Project in Brief:This project is important to us because if we continue as we are now without any change, we are going to be the ones responsible for having a detrimental effect on future generations. We can, right now, reduce the amount of plastic that we use in our everyday lives as well as stop using plastic unnecessarily.

We hope to run an awareness campaign in our school as well as through our social media page. On a local scale, we hope to organise more bins to be set up near Donegal Pier to ensure our waste is not entering the water at this point. We hope to organise regular beach clean ups and we want to provide a resource pack to be shared with local primary schools in preparation for World Oceans Day 2022. We hope to get in touch with our local county councillors and invite guest speakers to our school to help us combat this issue. As we are close to Killybegs, we also hope to find out more about sustainable fishing methods and how we can support organisations working to protect marine life.

Instagram Handle: @commotionintheocean_avs

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The Glebe, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal, F94A409.
074 97 21105
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