A group of Donegal teenagers has made it through to the televised finals of a major national competition.
From 140 projects around Ireland, the Foróige Neighbourhood Youth Project in Bundoran is now in the finals of the permanent tsb Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards along with nine other groups. The finals of the competition will be broadcast on TV3 in November.
The announcement was made in the RDS, Dublin at a national showcase of community projects which was attended by thousands of young people.
The Donegal teenagers developed an initiative called ‘Make a Dream Come True’ which aimed to fulfil the wishes of children in the locality.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Katie Gallagher explained: “We went to some schools and we found out that young people feel there aren’t enough activities or ways to learn new skills. At this point we decided to set up ‘Make a Dream Come True’.
“Young people in the area were invited to fill up an application form and explain what wishes they would like to come true and why. The response was amazing, the young people wanted to do everything from becoming a chef to learning how to surf to learning the drums.
“When we heard our names being read out we just couldn’t believe it. We couldn’t stop screaming and jumping around. The phones came straight out and we just started texting everyone. Getting to the finals means a lot to us and the fact that it’ll be on TV makes it even more exciting.”
The projects at the exhibition came from all over the country and they faced up to all sorts of issues including Homophobic Bullying, Rural Isolation, Farm Safety, Suicide Prevention, Youth Mental Health, Healthy Living, Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Poverty and Disability, Anti-Smoking, Animal Welfare and Social Inclusion.
Five other Foróige groups from the county submitted projects but on this occasion they didn’t quite make it through to the finals. They are:The Foróige Deck Youth Advisory Committee, Donegal Town: A project to promote positive mental health; The Foróige Deck Alan Kerins Africa Project, Donegal Town: A fundraising project to travel to Africa to volunteer in an orphanage; Foróige Mini Crotchets Group, Donegal Town: Produced ‘Shreked the Musical’ for the local community; Foróige South-West Donegal Youth Project and Drop-In Centre: A project to promote positive mental health amongst young people and the Foróige Deck Girls Group, Donegal Town: A ‘How to look after your pets’ leaflet to highlight animal welfare issues.