Foróige Health Promotion Officer Eimear Glendon talks about her work at the Drum Youth Centre, Kilkenny

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Foróige-Notinuse December 11, 2013

My name is Eimear Glendon. I work as a Health Promotion Officer in the Foróige Drum Youth Centre in Kilkenny. I studied for a BSc Health Science & Physiology and a BSc Public Health & Health Promotion in the Institute of Technology Sligo over a period of four years. Helping people whenever I can is very important to me!


What is Health Promotion?

Health Promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health. Health promotion recognises that everything that affects a person’s everyday living has an impact on their health and well-being; this in turn affects people’s quality of life.

There are many different approaches which can be utilised in health promotion, these are; medical or preventative, behaviour change, educational, empowerment and social change. These different approaches are all utilised in order to help prevent disease, to assist in assuring that people are well informed and able to make health choices, to aid people in developing their skills and confidence to take a greater control of their health, and to assist others in the change of policies and environment in order to facilitate healthy lifestyle choices.

Health promotion can be performed in all kinds of settings, and aims to include all different population groups with an overall goal to assist in the reduction of health inequalities.

What a Health Promotion Officer does at The Drum Youth Centre

A youth centre setting is a vital place to have in a community for teenagers. Individuals can get away from the structure of school life and take a break to socialise with friends and staff in a safe and positive environment. As a Health Promotion Officer in a youth centre I have many roles, each day is different and constantly changing. My work involves:

• Assisting the project workers to make a positive & supportive environment for teenagers so that they can feel comfortable and safe in exploring different topics and health issues
• Creating a health information wall within the youth centre with information which is relevant to teenagers at that given time. This wall is constantly updated with different information. I also encourage the youth centre participants to get actively involved with this information
• Spreading knowledge and awareness of health topics and issues through social media and also displaying posters, updating health promoting screensavers on the computers and displaying health information leaflets throughout the centre
• The development of interactive ways to get the teenagers involved in their own health and wellbeing through the use of different resources and facilitation in the youth café. This aids the teenagers in generating awareness, gaining knowledge and learning through being actively participating and through their thoughts and emotions
• Networking with other organisations in the area is important in assisting the empowerment of the teenagers so they can take control of their own health

Health promotion is a vital part of The Drum Youth Centre as it assists the participants to develop lifelong skills, interests and knowledge which are essential in living healthy lifestyles. These skills can then be passed on and shared throughout communities to aid the empowerment of many more individuals.

'Movember' at The Foróige Drum Youth Centre

The Foróige Drum Youth Centre plays a huge role in creating awareness about different health issues which are related to a teenager’s wellbeing. During the month of November, The Drum focused on “Movember”. Groups at the café participated in a variety of activities throughout the month to create awareness around the topic of cancer. Posters were displayed around the youth centre, the health wall related to the topic, youth café members participated in health focused activities and links relevant to teenagers and cancer issues were posted onto ‘The Foróige Drum Youth Centre’ Facebook page.

Movember is a month which should be used to create awareness among all population groups concerning cancer. Here at The Drum we feel that it is vitally important to get the young population involved and to assist them in gaining the knowledge they may require to live healthy and happy lives.

Getting the young people involved

Firstly they explored the topic of cancer through the designing and development of moustaches for male cancers and for the females in the group they also created pink ribbons to promote female cancers. To relate the topic of prostate and breast cancer to the younger population a few of the teenagers researched different celebrities that had joined in on campaigns to create awareness.

The teenagers were then given simple worksheets with one question on each sheet. There were three different worksheets. The questions were: ”Words you think of when you think of cancer?”, “Words you think of when you hear of the word Movember?” and “Words you think of when you see the pink ribbon?”. Each worksheet was anonymous. This reflected that everyone has different views and feeling around cancer, no one is right or wrong about how they feel and it is important to talk and listen to each other.

The group also participated in a prepared crossword activity which involved naming some of the risk factors associated with increasing the risk of getting cancer. As a group they came up with all the different factors; some being age, gender, family history and different lifestyle choices. After they completed this they discussed the risk factors and how they can be adapted to live healthier lifestyles. They gave examples without being asked, this shows how simple facilitation activities can be extremely beneficial when working with teenagers surrounding health topics.

The final reflective activity the group did together was to create a short story about Movember. “Movember is the month of moustaches and remembrance. Movember is a weird name and I don’t know much about it. It’s one of the winter seasons when people grow moustaches in awareness for men’s health. Many people especially men die of cancer so it’s a very important thing to remember. Many people hate it. It’s a month thing, people sometimes smile about it, thoughts come from the heart about it and men even grow moustaches for it.”

The Outcome

Overall I feel that Movember in The Drum was very beneficial to the young people who participated in the activities and the young people who attended the youth centre during the month. They recognised that November is a month used to create awareness regarding cancer. They gained knowledge regarding different cancers as well as expressing their own knowledge with the group; they also expressed feelings around cancer and were open to everyone’s opinions about the topic.