Michael Lynskey, Foróige Chairperson reflects on our Youth Citizenship Programme

Foróige-Notinuse's picture
Foróige-Notinuse October 3, 2014

I am very passionate about Foróige’s Youth Citizenship Programme. As a young man, I was lucky enough to be a member of a Foróige Club in Tooreen, County Mayo. We had great leaders who always promoted and encouraged us to get involved in community projects. My involvement in these projects gave me a great insight into my community and the people who live there. Very quickly it opened my eyes to the fact that the reason I had a great community to live in was all down to the local people who gave so unselfishly of their time to make our community a better place. I learned there and then that ordinary people could and do make an extraordinary difference.

The Foróige Youth Citizenship Programme is not about coming up with the best idea and it is not about winning the big prize, it is about our young people examining their community, identifying the needs and looking at what they can do as individuals and as a group to make their community a better place.

A lot of the challenges that young people are facing today including peer pressure, mental health struggles and cyber bulling can be helped by building in our youth a strong sense of civic duty and a belief that they have something great to contribute. To me, Foróige is all about community. Our tagline is “Empowering Youth, Enriching Communities” and there is no better way to fulfil this ethos than to encourage the young people you work with to participate in a citizenship programme. The opportunity to reach out and help other people or improve your community in some way builds a sense of belonging, connectedness and self-worth in young people that can never be taken away from them.

If your Club or Group is doing a citizenship project this year, don’t keep it to yourself. Advertise and promote what your Club is doing in your local newspaper, radio, through social media and let everyone know just how great our youth are.