Do you have a story to tell? If so, The Moth in partnership with the U.S. Embassy have a pretty cool opportunity for you.
The Moth is an acclaimed U.S. based non-profit organisation dedicated to the art and craft of personal stories told live. They’ve presented more than 15,000 stories, at live events, to standing-room-only crowds worldwide. Many of these live events are recorded and distributed online as podcasts, which you can check out to get more a feel for what they do.
They are hosting two storytelling workshops in Dublin this April, on the theme of ‘Game Change’. They want you to pinpoint a moment in your life when everything changed for you, where you turned a corner, where you flipped a switch. At the workshops, you’ll be taught how to craft these moments into dynamic and engaging stories to be performed out loud.
The stories told must be true and relating to the theme. Here are a few suggested prompts to get you thinking on the theme:
The workshop will be available free of charge to 32 young people (aged 18-25) from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, with 16 participants in each workshop.
The workshops will take place on Wednesday April 8th at 9:00am-11:30am and 12:30pm-3:00pm, in a location in Dublin city centre.
To apply for the workshop, fill out this form. The deadline is March 6th 2015 and successful applicants will be notified on March 27th. If you have any questions, you can get in touch with please contact Katie Keogh at email@example.com.
After a week in Kolkata, what do we have to say? The answer? Ample. Now that the trip is over and we have had time to process what we experienced, the harsh reality has set in. We went out in search of answers, yet returned with more questions. How do some have so much yet others so little? How is there such disregard for human life? And the biggest question that has played on our minds is what really brings true happiness to life?
Is happiness found inwards or externally through the constant pursuit of material things that we let define us? Kolkata has been a brutal eye opener and wake up call to value the opportunities we have being truly blessed with. We have a rejuvenated sense of appreciation and have realised that we have won life’s greatest lottery: Our place of birth. We have not been born into a seven story high waste land, infested with rats, ravaged with wild boars and dogs, with no chance of escaping or ever getting a shot at life. Here is what we have to say.
Upon landing the first thing that struck us was the low lying smog that engulfed the city. All it took was one breath to taste the contaminants that surrounded us. However, we were not exposed for long as we were quickly ushered into the awaiting GOAL vehicles. It was then we were introduced to the erratic Kolkata road system. We are still none the wiser as to which side of the road people drive on. The cars, bikes, buses and people - even the cows - seem to come and go in every direction. Every bus we passed was teeming with people, every street littered with waste and every second filled with beeping horns.
Our first project was the Brick Kilns where migrant workers produce thousands of bricks every day. After a brief demonstration from the locals we were paired with children who had mastered the trade. It was much more difficult than expected with the majority of our bricks being recycled back into the mud pile. After this we were shown the living conditions of the workers and found their houses to be pitch black and the size of the average Irish bathroom. This was the first of many shocks to the system.
Over the next two days we visited two dumps. The first dump we visited was Dhapa Municipal Dump. The first thing that struck us was the sheer height of the waste which when you think about it isn’t that surprising considering that 4,500 metric tonnes of waste is deposited there every day. The morning was spent visiting a primary school funded by GOAL and later that afternoon, we played the local teenage boys and girls in an intense game of tag rugby. We were all amazed by their skill level and charisma. GOAL have also implanted a livelihoods programme in Dhapa where women make and sell on merchandise such as bags and bracelets.
The next morning we visited a girl’s secondary school where GOAL have implemented their WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) programme. We were all quite taken back by the lack of knowledge of hygiene that exists in Indian society. Simple tasks such as washing your hands after using the toilet were not common practice. However GOAL aim to combat this with their WASH programme that educates young people about personal hygiene and have done so very successfully from what we witnessed.
That afternoon was without a doubt the most horrifying experience of the trip; Howrah Dump. We played the local teenage boys in a soccer match which was overshadowed by the mound of waste just a few feet away. Words cannot describe the conditions we witnessed, far worse than what we had previously seen. It is shocking when previously shocking experiences become less shocking!
On the penultimate day of the trip we visited two of GOAL’s urban slum projects. At both slums GOAL have set up a school which is vital for working towards the long term development of the slum. This was one of the first occasions where we were able to interact with the children for a substantial period of time which in turn made it very emotionally challenging for us to leave. To see the happiness that surrounded our arrival and the anguish that came with our departure, it was quite difficult for us to articulate.
Our trip to Kolkata has greatly altered the way we wish to live out our lives. We, as a developed society are too focused on materialism and tend to easily overlook the dire need of those among us. We came to Kolkata to give yet received more than our hearts can ever carry and will be forever grateful for this.
The GOAL – Aidlink Campaign has been run as a Transition Year project in Blackrock College, Co. Dublin since 1989 and has raised over 2 million euro for two Irish charities working in the developing world; GOAL and Aidlink. We have raised these funds by selling the GOAL St. Patrick’s Day Badge nationwide. To donate to the campaign be sure to buy a St. Patrick’s Day GOAL badge from newsagents nationwide or Text PADDY to 50300 to donate €2*
SpunOut.ie is developing new content for lone young parents, between the ages 16-25 and we’d love your help with this.
If you’re a parent between the ages 16-25, caring for your child or children, we want to hear about the big issues that affect you, from housing, to employment, to education, to relationships.
We want to develop the best support content possible for lone young parents, so your input is really important to us. We want to make sure the content we develop is based on your needs, is relevant to your life, and would be genuinely helpful to you. To find this out, we’ve created a short survey.
It’ll only take around 5-10 minutes, plus you’ll be in with the chance to win a €50 one for all voucher!
You can fill out the survey here. If you have any questions about this survey please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 6753554. If you would like any more information or need support please get in touch with the One Family support line 1890 662 212 or email email@example.com
It’s a well-known fact that long-distance relationships can be the hardest type of relationships to maintain. Commitment, love and forward planning are just some of the many attributes needed to keep a long-distance relationship intact. Below are a list of things you should probably consider before entering into a relationship where “I’m finished work now if you want to call over” isn’t always an option.
If you and your partner are in full-time education/work from Monday to Friday, expect to spend at least one day of your weekend off with each other. At the start of the relationship this may not sound like a difficult task but as the weeks and months go by, that Premiership match on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning brunch with the girls may sound more appealing than a three-hour bus journey to see your loved one. Of course, there will be weekends where you can’t make time to see each other but that ought to be made up for during the week with a long Skype chat or even a spontaneous love letter in the post. Everyone loves a good love letter.
As mentioned above, if you’re both busy working during the day and have commitments such as badminton practice in the evenings, the best way to keep in contact is through phone calls at bedtime. My advice would be not to leave it past 11:30pm to make the call; both of you will be drowsy from your long days and the conversation will be forced rather than genuine. Also, be prepared to put aside at least half an hour each evening for the phone call if you haven’t been in touch that day. Otherwise you may as well be calling your mother rather than your lover.
Be it an extra-long text in the morning for them to wake up to or a selfie before you head on a night out, your partner will appreciate it more than you know. Especially when you’re passed the honeymoon phase and texting each other every waking moment is no longer a necessity. Go that extra mile and remind your partner why it is they want to be with you. Show them you still care about the little things and your gestures will more than likely be reciprocated if not topped, if you know what I mean!
If all you have together is a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, do something you both enjoy. Treat yourselves to lunch in the restaurant you went to on your first date; go see a movie you have been talking about on the phone during the week; you know, the kind of things normal couples do. However, don’t make the mistake of saying goodbye without having had some “quality alone time”. Take a romantic walk in the park and go off the beaten track or go for a drive to the outskirts of town. Just make sure you get your fix of intimacy, because it will have to last you until the next time you see each other again.
You may be thinking that would be impossible but even the most loving couples can forget about each other now and again. You may both lead very busy lives and things that are important to you may not be as important to your partner. Forgetting to pick up the phone or opening a text and not replying may be acceptable once or twice, but anything more than that is just laziness. Relationships aren’t a part-time thing; you’re either in it 100% or you’re not in it at all.
The best way to guarantee a happy, fulfilling relationship is to always remember why you guys are together. Long-distance relationships are not for the faint-hearted and are undoubtedly difficult to maintain but if you’re as in love with your partner as you think you are, the challenge becomes a lot easier. Love makes everything easier – especially when your relationship is dependent on phone calls and Skype sessions.
If the above are things you can’t possibly imagine living with long-term, don’t engage in a relationship with someone living more than a half hour drive from you. If you found yourself shaking your head at each of those things, you more than likely will be investing time and emotion into something that won’t make you truly happy. Don’t beat yourself up about it, though – long-distance relationships aren’t for everyone. In fact, only the very committed can live with those conditions. Not being able to hack the above conditions is not a reflection of your love for your partner, it’s more a lifestyle preference. And sometimes, especially in long-term situations like this it’s okay to choose “me” first.
Despite the economic events of recent years, Irish people’s caring nature towards others has continued to shine like a beacon in the dark. I have witnessed this first hand, and have seen local communities grow stronger. The strong Irish community spirit lends itself to public service professions, private sector professions, and charitable organisations all working in unison to help other people.
In my opinion, this is seen nowhere more clearly than in the North West. I am from a rural, disadvantaged area in Donegal and was born with a cleft lip and palate. This meant that, along with my parents, I spent many years dealing with the public health service in Donegal and Sligo. The early years for babies born with a cleft lip and palate or similar birth defects can be a traumatising and confusing time for the whole family, and it is with care and support from local health care professionals in the community that they overcome these hurdles. This support is also crucial for developing a child’s confidence as they go through primary and secondary school and become young adults. In turn, this is crucial to helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds compete in the labour market.
In my case, early intervention was key. Although there wasn’t the same level of knowledge as there is now, my parents did everything they could to find out how to help me progress in life. They read widely about the topic, got in contact with anybody they could find who had experience of this situation, and participated in any research groups investigating its cause. They relied hugely on the expertise and care of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. This is the same for many families.
It is important for us all to recognise and champion these real local heroes for the long hours and dedication they put into their charitable work or careers on a daily basis. This is particularly the case for the many doctors, nurses, and hospital staff throughout the North West and, from my own experience, the staff of the public orthodontics clinic in Sligo led by Mr Rahilly. Unfortunately, over recent years, I’ve seen that many people don’t give enough credit where it is due, and although the HSE has many issues to yet be addressed in terms of bureaucracy, long waiting lists, and funding to help as many people as they possibly can, there is a real failure to differentiate between service issues and the good work carried out by many staff. This must change.
Although now living and working in Dublin, I still have a strong bond with home. I recently became a trustee of the Cleft Lip and Palate Association of Ireland (CLAPAI) where I have learned in a real way the value the public health service and local charity groups give to disadvantaged families with children with birth defects. Also, it is really important that young adults have the tools and the confidence to compete in third level education or the workplace. This can only be achieved through ongoing positive support.
So, as Ireland returns to growth and hopefully prosperity it is important to remember the real heroes in our society, to say a simple ‘thank you’ to them more often, and help to change the Irish healthcare system in a more positive and dynamic way.
Gaisce, or the Presiden'ts Award, is a three-tiered personal development programme for young people aged 15 to 25.
The programme combines self-directed challenges and structured supervision by adult volunteers who are called President Award Leaders, or PALs. For the self-directed elements young people set and achieve a series of personal, physical, community and team challenges at three different levels. These are known as Bronze, Silver or Gold levels.
At each level, participants are required to commit at least one hour per week to achieving each of their personal, physical and community challenges for a minimum number of weeks. The number of weeks depends on the level of the award, as does the time required to complete their team challenge: the Adventure Journey.
Individuals can complete the award at their own pace, the weeks in which challenges are undertaken do not have to be consecutive. Recipients of awards receive a certificate signed by the President and a medal/pin.
These are the three challenges that participants need to complete on each level:
The aim of the Personal Skill is to encourage young people to improve on an existing skill or to try something new. A level of commitment over time to progress in a skill leads to a sense of achievement and well being.
This skill section should stimulate the development of new interests or to improve existing ones. These interests are typically of a non-physically demanding nature and may include hobbies, vocational or job related skills, social or individual activities, cultural activities or life skills.
Examples of Personal Skills:
The purpose of this section is to encourage physical recreation activity. Involvement in physical recreation should be an enjoyable experience, regardless of physical ability and this section is based on the belief that physical exercise is good for both body and mind and is essential for a person's well-being.
As in the Personal Skill section, participants may either seek to improve their ability in an activity that they already do or take up a completely new activity. Activities chosen should be enjoyable and the goals set realistic so that at the end of the section, participants feel a real sense of achievement.
Examples of Physical Activity:
Community Involvement is all about giving back to the community. Whatever passions you may have, whether it's care and concern for the environment, a love of animals, a desire to make a difference to the lives of those less fortunate than you or wish to help the sick or elderly, the Community Involvement section offers the structure to fulfil these passions.
The Community Involvement section offers you the opportunity to engage with society and gain an understanding of the importance of your role within your immediate and global community. It also gives you the chance to connect with individuals and groups you may have not been aware of before and to make a difference in the wider community.
Examples of Community Involvement :
To inspire young people to develop a spirit of adventure and discovery, by planning, training for and completing an outdoor Adventure Journey as part of a team. The experience opens possibilities for new pathways to be explored and brings together much of the learning that has taken place during the Award, providing participants with a unique, challenge and memorable experience as well as a learning of self-sufficiency.
The keys elements of the Adventure Journey are teamwork in planning and execution against the background of real challenges posed by unfamiliar environment. The Adventure Journey can either be an Expedition or an Exploration. An Expedition is a journey with a purpose, and an Exploration is a purpose with a journey.
Examples of Adventure Challange
Plan, prepare and undertake a 2 day, 1 night Adventure Journey in a group covering a minimum total distance of: Walking 25 – 35 km or Cycling 100 – 130 km over 2 consecutive days.
Gaisce participants are mentored through their journey by a President Award Leaders. There are currently more than 1,500 active PALs across Ireland. PALs are teachers, youth and community workers (paid and unpaid) who recognise the value of Gaisce as a ‘tool’ that can assist them in the work they do empowering young people. In order to become a PAL, individuals are required to do a one-day training course provided by Gaisce.
PhD research was recently undertaken on Gaisce which examined the impact of Gaisce on a mixed-gender group of participants at Bronze and Gold level.
The key findings of the research were that, as a result of their participation in Gaisce, young people:
If you are going through a tough time, you may be hoping that you snap out of it, or that it’s just a phase you’re going through. When you keep a problem to yourself or overthink a situation too much, it might seem hard to handle but often having a good rant to someone you trust or a stranger even, can help ease your worries. Or simply talking about an issue out loud can make it feel less difficult. Starting a conversation and opening up about how you feel can be the hard part though.
First of all talking about what’s going on for you is really a good way of helping you work through your emotions. You don’t have to try to manage everything by yourself; there are people willing to help you get through any situation, no matter how big or how small it may be.
If you’re used to bottling up your feelings and dealing with things yourself, then talking about stuff to someone else may feel a little strange.
Although everyone agrees that talking about your mental health is good, noone seems to acknowledge how tough it can be to know what to say. With this in mind, we’ve put together some tips to help you along.
Talking about something that is bothering you is important but that doesn’t mean you have to shout your most deepest thoughts from the rooftops to just anyone. Deciding who to talk to is the first step. You’ll know who you will feel most comfortable talking to. If you don’t have anyone close you can talk to like a family member or friend, have a think about who you could talk to. Is there a teacher at school, a youth worker or a sports coach that you would feel comfortable talking to? Would you feel more comfortable speaking to health professional like your college counsellor or GP first?
Tips on how to talk to someone
If you feel you need a little more support than what a friend can give you, then the next step is to make an appointment to visit your GP. It might feel awkward talking about your feelings if you’re not used to talking about it. Your GP is used to people coming to them with all sorts of issues and will have met with someone with a similar problem a million times before.
You may not feel like telling your family about what's on your mind, but having them there to support you can really help. You might be afraid to tell them what you’ve been going through because you think they won’t understand, but the fact is that they care about you and would hate for you to deal with things by yourself.
It might help to have someone with you for support when you talk to them, and to print them off some information about mental health to help them understand. Check out www.spunout.ie/mentalhealth for more information.
Are you registered to vote? Some of you may know the answer; others won't. First off, see if you're on the register of electors here. If you're registered, great. If not, don't worry! We'll guide you through it.
This year's referendum on same-sex marraige is on 22nd May. The deadline to register to vote for this is May 6th 2015.
The annual electoral register deadline is in November each year for all new voters and those looking to change their details.
That gives you a while to get your name down on that list before the deadline ahead of what is going to be a very busy year of voting in 2015, with referendums proposed on marriage, reducing the voting age and others.
Once this is done, your details will be added to the Register of Electors and you'll be able to vote in local, national and European elections as well as referendums (once you're eligible- just check out the details below).
If you are already on the voting register but you have moved address or need to change some details, just fill in this form and send it off as above.
If you're over 18 and an Irish citizen, you're sorted. You can vote for any person in any election for as long as you live in Ireland! If you don't meet those criteria, things can be a tad more difficult. Fear not, though, you still might be eligible to vote!
If you're a non-Irish citizen and want to vote in the elections here, you'll need to be an Irish resident since at least September of last year and, of course, be over 18. You'll still need to register, though, so make sure you fit at least one of these criteria and get yourself the right form and get your name down on that list!
What does joining a political party mean?
Joining a political party means that you are registering with a political party and letting them and the world know that you generally support their causes and activates. Joining usually involves paying a small fee. In return, you get access to a lot of information on the party and can meet with other like-minded individuals.
Why bother joining a political party?
Which one is right for me?
What if I'm interested in politics but not any parties in Ireland?
The pace of life nowadays can be overwhelming. Sometimes, we need to take a break from all the holla baloo and just chillax.
Loneliness is about feeling separate from others. It might include a feeling of being abandoned or ignored, or a sense of being alone in the world. As we grow up, we naturally separate from others; from our parents as we become teenagers, perhaps from school friends when we start work or go to college and from different partners throughout our lives. So it’s natural and normal, and everyone feels lonely at some point in life.
What causes loneliness?
Life is full of stresses and changes that can lead to people feeling isolated and lonely. Work might be fast paced and pressured; leaving home, moving to another city/country and going to college are often huge life changes. Living in remote rural areas or in urban areas without a strong sense of community can lead to isolation and suffering an illness can also all lead to feelings of loneliness.
These are just some examples of times in our lives when we might feel lonely. However, it is also very possible to feel lonely even if you have a great social life and lots of friends. If you feel misunderstood and if you feel you can’t share yourself with others around you, you might feel isolated and lonely.
The experience of loneliness
You can be surrounded by people, but still feel lonely. So it can be a strange thing to explain to someone. Loneliness is something that transcends all boundaries, all classes and all people. Even someone with the perfect life, a loving family and loving friends can feel the pangs of loneliness creeping up at them. Most people are happy to spend time alone as well as with other people. However, sometimes a person might feel alone all the time.