A. Why Participate in Young Social Innovators?
1. What is YSI’s Social Innovation Programme?
The Young Social Innovators (YSI) Social Innovation Programme is a youth-led, team-based, action focused programme. Working in teams, young people aged 15-18 identify a social issue of concern to them, explore it and come up with real actions and responses. The programme forms part of the work of Young Social Innovators in promoting and leading the way in education for social innovation in Ireland. YSI’s programmes encourage, motivate and create new opportunities for young people to actively participate in the world around them, developing their innate sense of justice, responsibility and passion to create a fairer, more caring and equal society.
2. What are the benefits of participating in YSI?
YSI taps into the idealism, enthusiasm and talents of young people. They will use and develop many skills which will help them to participate actively in shaping the betterment of society. In the process, they will obtain insights into themselves as well as insights into voluntary and community work and they will discover the benefits of working in groups and forming partnerships. In particular, participants develop skills in critical and creative thinking; communicating; information processing; working with others and being personally effective.
B. Getting Started/Before you begin
1. Do I need to attend in-service workshops?
We advise all YSI Guides to attend the in-service workshops that take place in various locations each September and January. Workshops will give you the tools to guide a YSI project team, as well as a range of active learning methodologies and any up-dates on the current years’ Programme. Attendance at YSI In-services count towards accreditation as a YSI Guide.
These workshops are facilitated by experienced trainers, all of whom are teachers and have first hand experience of being YSI Guides. In-service workshops are held in Cork, Dublin, Limerick and Carrick-on-Shannonl.
2. How much time is required to do a YSI project?
If you are running the programme in a school/centre, we recommend that YSI is given a slot on the timetable. Two classes would be ideal but please allocate at least one class period per week to give adequate time to the project. This is especially true in Transition Year, when students will frequently be away from school on activities/ work experience etc. Or you can consider doing it out of class time. If you are doing YSI through youth services/youth club, we recommend the team tries to meet at least once a week.
3. Who can participate?
In 2012/2013, YSI’s Social Innovation Programme is open to all young people aged 15 – 18 in:
4. In what subject areas can YSI be incorporated?
The Young Social Innovators programme can be incorporated into a broad range of subject areas. It can become part of citizenship education, community service work, development education, contemporary issues education (LCA), environmental education, Geography, Social Personal and Health Education, Religious Education, English, History, Home Economics or any social awareness programme that might be in operation in a particular school/centre. To date, YSI has been built into all of the above and has also emerged as a distinct programme on the timetable in some schools/centres. It works well as a stand alone Transition module and can also be easily incorporated into a range of alternative educational organisations such as Youthreach Centres, Youth Services and Garda Youth Diversion Programmes.
5. What are the 4Cs of social innovation?
Over the last decade YSI has worked with teachers and Principals to create and develop a pedagogy for the learning and practice of social innovation. YSI teams apply the 4Cs to organise their Social Innovation Project.
6. What resources/support is available to participants?
YSI is a comprehensive programme with various supports in place to help you along the way. These include:
7. How many young people are on a team?
All YSI projects are team-based. There should be between 5 and 25 members in each team. This is the optimum in terms of resources and workability. However, if your group has between 25 and 30 members, and all wish to work as one team, then please contact YSI and we will facilitate you. A team larger than 30 can be difficult, so we would recommend dividing the group into two teams. Of course, if a group wishes to divide into a number of teams and to work on a project each, that is acceptable also. Do what best suits the group dynamic.
8. Can I work with another school/centre?
Yes, teams from different schools can co-operate with each other and work together on the same project. This can be a useful way to increase community awareness about an issue and also a way of pooling resources.
9. Can a YSI project have an international dimension?
The project can certainly link with other countries. However, there must be some local focus to the work. For example, a project that looked at child labour in the developing world should also explore the local dimension, showing the interdependent nature of the world. Action on a global issue starts at local level.
10. Are there any expenses involved in participating?
Young Social Innovators is a not-for-profit organisation with charitable status and is reliant on sponsorship and fundraising.
There is a one off annual participation fee of €20 per participant due in October 2012. This fee is a small contribution towards the expenses incurred in running the YSI Programme. If, for any reason, a young person is unable to pay this fee, please notify us in writing. Inability to pay this fee will not exclude participation in the Programme.
Other expenses that should be factored in include transportation costs to and from a Speak Out and our Annual Showcase (optional element). Due to geographic location of your school/ centre, additional expenses may be incurred such as accommodation and subsistence.
11. Can I submit a report in Irish?
Yes, YSI welcomes project reports in English and Irish. A number of gaelscoileanna participate in the YSI programme each year. We cannot however guarantee that the Judging panels will interview in Irish.
12. What are YSI Challenges?
YSI challenges are essentially categories of different types of social justice topics. YSI 2012/2013 programme has several challenges which fit into 4 main themes. These themes are: Justice, Democracy and Citizenship; Health and Wellbeing; Living Community; One World.
Please study the Challenges carefully (on the Project Report submission form) and then choose the correct project category which most reflects your YSI project issue. If you still find it difficult to select a challenge, please contact us.
C. Evidence of Learning
1. What do YSI teams have to do?
YSI is about self directed learning. Every YSI team is required to:
2. What is a Project Report?
Teams submit a 6000 word(maximum) report to YSI in March. Projects submit reports through YSI’s Social Innovation Hub. Teams can choose to submit a written report or a CD Rom/CD with a ‘talking heads’ presentation (no footage from the project - just a person talking).
Each team will receive feedback on their report in the following areas:
3. What is a Speak Out?
A Speak Out is an opportunity for the young people to advocate on their project topic to their peers in order to educate and raise awareness of their issue. All participating teams are invited to give a two minute presentation on their chosen social issue at a YSI Speak Out event. Teams are expected to focus on the message of their project and their innovative response. These presentations are filled with energy and enthusiasm and are also an excellent opportunity to communicate, inform and influence others.
4. Will there be any YSI Speak Outs in my area?
The YSI Speak Out fora are held in various locations around the country throughout March. These events enable project teams in a region to come together to advocate their messages for social change. Full details of event dates and venues can be found in the YSI Calendar.
5. Do I have to attend a Speak Out?
Every team must attend and present at a Speak Out to get full feedback from YSI in April. Feedback is given on both their Speak Out presentation and on the Project Report.
6. Do teams get feedback?
All YSI teams who present their project at a regional Speak Out and submit a Project Report will receive feedback from Young Social Innovators. The feedback will be on the YSI website in April 2013 (accessible through the Guide Zone).
Each team will receive feedback on their report in the following areas:
*Please note that Care, Co-operate, Change and Communicate (Tell your story) will be assessed through the Project Report and Communicate (Advocate) will be assessed through the Speak Out presentation.
D. Optional YSI Opportunities
1. What is the YSI Den?
The YSI Den is an optional opportunity within the YSI programme. The YSI Den is based on the format of the TV programme ‘Dragons’ Den’. Teams make a pitch to a panel of experts and ask them for money, means or mentoring to develop their YSI project. Interest in the Den is indicated when submitting Project Reports in March. For details of the YSI Den 2013, check out our website in the coming months. Please note that due to huge interest in the Den, a selection process will take place.
2. What is the Fun-raising Challenge?
YSI’s Fun-raising Challenge invites YSI teams to come up with creative ways to raise awareness about their social action project and raise funds for their chosen charity at the same time! Teams can enter the YSI Fun-raising Challenge and be in the running to win a Fun-raising award. YSI is looking for the most creative and innovative idea which combines fund-raising and awareness-raising. The winners are not necessarily those that raise the most money, but those who ‘Fun-raise’ in the most innovative way.
3. What is the Annual Showcase?
This optional element of YSI celebrates the social innovation work of young people in Ireland. A selection of projects are showcased and assessed at the Showcase. For information on Showcase 2013 please check our website www.youngsocialinnovators.org in the coming months. The Annual Showcase takes place in May.
4. How can I sustain a YSI project?
If teams feel that there is still valuable work to be done on a project, they can always talk to the future YSI team and determine if they would be interested in continuing their existing project and making it a ‘Step Up’ project. Some projects’ goals may not be achieved in an academic year and needs further time and effort. A ‘Step Up’ project is a project that develops and sustains an existing project. As ‘Step Up’ projects have a different starting point, we have a separate category for them at our Annual Showcase.
A project can be passed on to another group e.g. next year’s Transition Year or Youthreach YSI team. Please note however, that the new team must develop the project significantly, and the project should be identified as a ‘Step Up’ Project when submitting a Project Report. Like all YSI projects, ‘Step Up’ projects can apply to the YSI Den and Fun-Raising Challenge to get further support.
E. Other elements of Young Social Innovators
1. What are Centres of Social Innovators?
YSI is working with 20 Centres of Social Innovators in 2012/2013. Each Centre takes a whole school/centre approach to social innovation. They provide young people opportunities to get involved in volunteering, civic action, community service and social innovation.
Teams of young people are trained by YSI to become Advocates. Advocates find out what social issues people in their Centre care about and they motivate others in their community to co-operate to make real change happen. They also provide different ways for people to communicate about their work.
YSI trains ten Advocates from each Centre in September and January in social innovation, human rights and leadership training. Education officers visit each Centre and additional support is given by means of telephone and Skype calls.
2. Empowerment training
The Social Innovation Empowerment programme is designed to empower 15-18 year olds by enhancing their self-awareness; recognising their skills, talents and interests and increasing their self-belief and confidence. A central component of the programme is to adopt innovative, practical techniques and methodologies to reflect on social issues they feel passionate about, explore ideas and opinions around themselves, their local communities and the wider world.
These workshops are created to provide opportunities to participants to realise they have a positive contribution to make to their communities and though this learning, to further enhance their life and work skills and ambition.
3. 18-25 year olds
Young Social Innovators is embarking on an exciting pilot project working with young adults (18-25 year-olds) to develop opportunities to get involved in social innovation projects and activities.
The pilot project will operate from March - May 2013 in Dublin and Cork and we are interested to hear from you if you’d like to get involved and help shape this exciting new initiative.
Individuals can be based in any setting be it college, work or unemployed. Through this venture, you will have the opportunity to meet new people with an interest in social innovation and entrepreneurship, receive training from Young Social Innovators in leadership, driving change and what it takes to be a social innovator, develop your CV, and have some fun!