Five from club for young people with autism have reached a major milestone

Graduation held on Saturday October 15th in NUI Galway

Five people from club for young people with autism have reached a major milestone

Five people from Sonas Youth Club for young people with autism have reached a major milestone for their club. 

Dylan Clarke, Conor Deeney, Sorcha McLaughlin, Sinead Barber and Olivia Farren all successfully completed the leadership for life modules 1-3. They all attended their graduation on Saturday  October 15th  in NUI Galway. 

Sonas Youth Coordinator Liam Gill said he was very proud of the five, who have all deemed to have demonstrated a desire to lead from the front and set a great example to their peers through positive decision making and actions. 

Dylan organised a charity legs waxing through the National Learning Network with all proceeds helping young people with autism, Olivia and Conor helped organise a charity shop in Buncrana Main Street, Sinead worked in a nursery and Sorcha helped organise a fun run for charity. The programme also included workshops on team building, critical thinking, communication skills and peer discussions on matters of global importance. In Ireland Albert Schweitzers Leadership for Life programme has been accredited by the National University of Ireland, Galway as a Foundation Certificate in Youth Leadership and Community Action. It is accredited as a foundation course as 15 credits as NFQ Level 6.

Sonas club leaders Liam Gill and Donal Kearney attended the facilitator training programme, in order to deliver the programme.  

The programme aims to enable young people to develop the skills, inspiration, vision, confidence and action plan to be effective leaders. Liam noted that through their youth work practice, the youth leaders have noticed enhanced communication skills, from the 5 young people, increased self-esteem and self-confidence, the young people being more assertive and mentoring younger peers which is fantastic as we like to look past the autism label and focus on the young people’s individual strengths.

Liam stated that it’s very important that iCARE and Sonas strive to deliver programmes for young people to enhance their future development in employment, training or whatever they chose to do.

Young person Dylan Clarke who graduated on Saturday stated that he learned to take control of projects through the leadership program, that it gave him the confidence to take charge of a group of people and organise a charity leg waxing, and this has helped him enhance his leadership skills and helped his confidence immensely. Dylan said:  "This means a huge amount to me and it is the result of a lot of work. I'd encourage as many young people as possible to enrol in the programme. The effort is really worth it."

Sonas Youth Club was established in 2012 and aims to offer a safe and relaxed environment where young people aged 11+ can develop and express themselves in a safe, non-judgemental setting. Sonas Youth club is run by volunteers, and all our weekly sessions are planned and structured. We aim to provide young people with learning opportunities using formal and informal education to enable them to gain knowledge and develop new skills. Our work is based on voluntary participation.  Sonas is based in Inishowen Donegal, and covers a 100 mile radius, the club is going from strength to strength, it provides 2 weekly evenings in a youth club setting, school holiday excursions and various social activities for the young people who attend.