Youth Mental Health and Youth Education are two areas where you can clearly see the negative impact of the Covid-19 crisis. We see young people finding it difficult to manage new home situations, less interaction with friends, and increased anxiety as a result of the educational uncertainty.
Through the new Boost-it Education and Mental Health Fund 2020, Rethink Ireland Ireland supports existing Awardees to stay engaged with this population for the duration of Covid-19 and beyond. Meet our Awardees:
The Aspire2 Dream programme aims to work collaboratively with key stakeholders from the education sector to supports students from DEIS schools to get the best leaving cert possible and enhance their opportunities for progression to third level, further education or apprenticeships. They do this by offering a wide range of supports to participating schools and students including financial supports, mentoring, work experience, Youth Advisory Panels and the Aspire2 Alumni. With Boost it funding they aim to bring an additional 2 DEIS schools from Dublin and Cork into the programme and to deliver AweZoom Grinds (online peer education programme) and also create an online version of their mentoring programme reaching out to more students.
The DCU Access to the Workplace scheme provides second-year students on the DCU Access programme with opportunities to undertake summer work placements in established workplaces, supporting them to gain valuable work experiences. With this funding, DCU Access to the Workplace scheme will develop an integrated IT system to match students with employers and recruit administrator support at busy times and provide technological support, as needed, to the ATTW students taking up placements. They will also adapt a readiness programme for effective online delivery and widen their student recruitment beyond Access students to include other students who find securing quality work experience challenging e.g. neurodiverse students and students with a disability.
The Changemaker Schools network is a community of practitioners who work to transform the way young people grow up. The Changemaker Network aims to catalyse changes throughout schools and the wider education system so that every young person is provided with an education experience that is explicitly designed to foster changemaker and 21st century learning skills. The Boost it Funding will allow the Network to support the salary of the coordinator and given the challenges of the Covid 19 Pandemic, the network has developed and tested a plan to reach out to young people through the use of the network’s website, webinars and online communication technology. They plan to customise, configure and design an Ashoka Fellow Initiative online.
Limerick community-based education initiative, Engage in Education, works to maximise educational outcomes in a variety of socially disadvantaged communities in Limerick City. The project targets students and their families and helps them progress through the education system through several support programmes. Early-stage intervention is critical in order to prevent students from disengaging from formal education. They aim to provide intensive interventions and group support to help the transition of students to secondary school and extend their impact and focus on their 42 6th class students who will progress to 1st year.
Childline is a 24-hour listening service for children and young people across the country, run by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). ISPCC plans to extend their project manager’s contract to meet the needs of an extended timeline due to COVID 19 needs, as well as to ensure they adhere to public health guidelines with individual headsets for the telephony volunteers required. This funding will ensure that all Childline statistics will continue to be sourced from the digital platform in a timely manner. It will allow for the resumption of volunteer training, volunteer training supports and updates will be available on their intranet portal. They aim to grow the numbers of children and young people availing of Childline services.
The Midlands Science project works to contribute to socio-economic development in the Midlands of Ireland (counties Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath), through the promotion of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education. Midlands Science aims to create greater interest in STEM education among young people.With this funding, in addition to circulation online and via social media, content will be made directly available to schools on Aladdin, Seesaw etc through teacher networks. This work is assisted by DCU and NUI Maynooth for curriculum mapping and STEM outreach. Over 2 years, 25 STEM online activities will be undertaken with appropriate teacher support materials and training and youth curiosity about science will be built in the midlands.
The Moyross Education Support Programme (MESP) aims to address the negative effects that adverse societal circumstances have had on the students and their families and to provide a range of interventions that complement classwork and contribute to the social, educational and emotional development of pupils and their families. With this funding they will develop their Corpus Christi Family Centre, a dedicated space to deliver all therapeutic interventions such as adult counselling, play therapy, group therapy, speech and language therapy, OT and physiotherapy on-site in the school. They will offer bespoke individual and group therapy to a small number of parents. They will influence systemic change on how health, education and community services are delivered to children in Ireland.
The My Future, My Business (MFMB) programme works with schools in Cork and motivates, challenges and empowers students to take charge of their own careers and futures, introducing them to professionals from various fields as well as equipping them with financial literacy skills. With Boost it support MFMB will create a virtual School to Work Days implementation framework and fully migrate project activities online. MFMB also aims to introduce Virtual Masterclasses to the workplace staff who deliver their Career Journeys, Q&A and Career Planning workshops. This migration of JA programmes to an online platform will allow programmes to be delivered remotely by the business volunteers, facilitated in-class by the teacher and supported with hard copy student material.
Camara Education Ireland manages the TechSpace Programme nationally. TechSpace is a bilingual programme that empowers educators in all learning spaces to be creative with technology in order to broaden skills, aspirations and opportunity for young people. With support from Rethink Ireland, the TechSpace STEM Create project will allow 320 educators to engage in STEM education. Techspace STEM delivers in-person STEM-based professional development training to 300 youth workers, and with this funding will deliver online courses to 100 youth workers to fill gaps for skills development in creative STEM content and curriculum due to generic set up of technology platforms in schools.
Narrative 4’s Empathy Project trains post-primary teachers and youth workers to facilitate an evidence based programme that improves social and emotional skills and wellbeing. This programme based on the principles of circle work addresses issues around bullying and poor youth mental health by building empathy skills through the exchange of stories.The focus on creating a space for empathy and connection is perhaps more important now in light of COVID 19. The Boost it fund will allow The Empathy Project to migrate to an online platform enabling teachers to deliver programmes to students online. N4 are aiming to run programmes in 35 schools fulfilling the guidelines issued by the The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) to secondary schools stating that storytelling should be implemented into the school strategy when integrating young people back in school
The SOAR Foundation runs a range of workshops in secondary schools, focusing on normalising the experiences of adversity and hardship throughout adolescence. With different workshop programmes aimed at young boys and girls of different ages, the workshops aim to empower participants to identify the struggles they face in their lives, and work to overcome them. With the Boost it Funding Soar will create a multi-engagement ‘Hustle’ programme with teenagers from all over the country using a hybrid model of face-to-face and on-line delivery and they will expand their number of on-hand facilitators thus allowing their programmes to become more accessible via online media.