YSI Blog

YSI Blog
Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

YSI Presents Work and Impact to Joint Oireachtas Committee 

Pictured outside Leinster House with students from Coláiste Bhride, Carnew are Rachel Collier, Co-founder and CEO, YSI, Barry Peak, YSI Learning and Training Specialist,  Karen Murphy, teacher and YSI Guide and Linda Dunne, Principal.

Young Social Innovators was delighted to present its work and 21 year impact promoting social innovation education in Ireland to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education, Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science on 28th June 2022.

Rachel Collier, YSI Co-founder and CEO and Barry Peak, YSI Learning and Training Specialist, were joined by the YSI student Team 'Be Aware, Don't Compare' from Coláiste Bhríde in Carnew who, along with their teacher and YSI Guide, Karen Murphy, shared their experience of taking part in YSI and the impact that their participation had on them and their wider community.

Representatives from the 'Be Aware, Don't Compare' YSI team addressing the Joint Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

The Be Aware Don't Compare team, who won the 2022 YSI  Digital Innovators Award supported by Virgin Media Ireland spoke about the project they developed to address online safety and to protect young people from the harms of the comparison culture propelled through social media platforms and the barrage of photoshopped images that young people encounter, many believing them to be real. The team highlighted how the government could consider legislation to address the issue and reduce its harmful impact on young people's mental health and body confidence.

The students also explained what they learned and experienced through working on such a project as part of a team and the many opportunities it presented for them as individuals and collectively.

'Be Aware, Don't Compare' Team pictured with Senator Pat Casey during their visit to the Oireachtas.

The value of social innovation education and the benefits it brings for young people, communities and wider society were outlined to the Committee along with the importance of providing space and time for such opportunities and learning to be made available within the curriculum. The need to engage young people in meaningful ways and to provide ways for their voices to be heard on the issues that impact them was also highlighted by Rachel who directed the Committee's attention to recent YSI research findings in the YSI / Amárach Gen Z Index that revealed the majority of young people in Ireland (78%) want a greater say in the policies and planning that impact the future.

Our overriding purpose is to empower young people in society to give them opportunities to contribute to creating a fairer, more sustainable world and creating much needed social capital in Ireland. Ultimately, building our capacity to face the many challenges that we are facing.

Rachel Collier, YSI CEO

A full recording from YSI's meeting in the Oireachtas can be viewed here.