Volunteer Geek Out

I apologise to all my readers in advanceI’m totally having a geek moment. This may not be the most interesting blog post in the world unless you’re working in a school…or are interested in volunteering or working with kids. I can see half my friends back in the states shaking their head at the title of this post and pressing x on the window screen (Yes Matthew I’m talking about you…I know how much you loooooveee children :)) I’m just so proud of my volunteer agency and feel extremely blessed to be part of it. And with that being said…!


In Northern Ireland

  • 1 in 3 children live in poverty
  • 1 in 4 young women interviewed experience violence or abuse in the home
  • Suicide is the biggest killer of young men
  • 1 in 4 young people say they have been bullied at some time.

These are exactly the reasons why I’m so excited to be volunteering with an organization like YouthAction. YouthAction in Northern Ireland works with young people to support them as an active and equal citizens and to make a difference in their lives. Each year they:

  • Engage 4,500 disadvantaged young people in a range of projects
  • Support 17,500 young people and adults through their membership services.
  • Attract 8,000 people to their shows and events ( FUN FACT: We’re sponsoring the youth music awards tomorrow night (Thursday 3/21) at 6pm at the YMCA in Londonderry! Should be great craic if you’re around this area!)

Over the past two years, YouthActions Peer Research Group has been carrying out a detailed needs assessment of young people’s lives within the NI area. This process also involved gathering examples of effective models of practice throughout the area and identifying gaps in provision.

YouthAction is now offering a range of pilot programmes in conjunction with local partners. These will have different levels of active and equal participation of young people, based on the young persons experience and level of responsibility. Delivery will be both through co-working with particular groups/communities and providing support/ training to others to enable them to deliver work.

Models of Practice:

  1. Healthy Relationships Curriculum: Target age group: 13-18 years. Aim: The Healthy Relationship Curriculum is a violence prevention program exposing the roots of violent and aggressive behaviour. The core activities include problem solving, assertiveness, communication skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to form and maintain healthy relationships with themselves, others and the community. The three core themes embedded within the program are: dealing with aggression, gender equality, media awareness and forming healthy relationships.
  2. Learning to Live: Target Age Group: 13-19 years. Aim: The Learning to Live program is an initiative that supports the development of young people’s social, community, and employability skills. It is a practical based program in which young people create a small portfolio of evidence that symbolises their experience and learning. The content is flexible but can include: interview skills, communication skills, cooking a meal, organizing a bus journey, community activities, positive mental health and joining a music library.
  3. COPE: Certificate of Personal Effectiveness: Target Age Group: 13-19 years. AIM: Supports young people’s personal, social and health education as well as accrediting work related learning and citizenship. Young people select a number of topics, from twelve areas (such as work, expressive arts, home management, etc.) and create a portfolio of evidence of learning. This qualification offers structured challenges and activities (both in and outside of the school) that are nationally recognised through certification.
  4. Creating Links Rural Program: Target Age Group: 13- 20 years. Aim: To develop program’s for and with rural young people, which addresses their needs and increases their participation in rural development within their community. The creative links program ultimately builds relationships with young rural people to help them speak for themselves, to make a contribution within their areas and to ultimately recognise this in a variety of ways.
  5. Introduction to mental health programme within youth work: Target Age Group: 18-25 years. Aim: This program is aimed at young people who want to gain a recognized youth work qualification and use peer education approaches. Key Aspects include: Needs of young people, communication skills, suicide awareness, promoting positive mental health and program development.

YouthAction is working on a plethora of different activities to get youth involved and let their voice be heard. This Saturday the President of Ireland is coming to Derry specifically to talk with youth from this agency (some youth are more excited about this than others) buts it a step! And one last time, if you’re from around Derry or this area, stop by the Irish Youth Music Awards tomorrow at 6, YMCA in Londonderry 🙂


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3 thoughts on “Volunteer Geek Out

  1. Hello I’ve just red your blog it was very interesting and I enjoyed your last one as well lots of things I didn’t no my son and daughter are going to this event and are looking forward to a great nite as I think you are enjoy the event and I’m looking forward to your next blog
    Ps it’s nice to be back !!

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