FOLLOWING an enforced absence of three years the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) South West Region held their youth day 2023 for Transition Year students from Cork and Kerry.
Up to 34 schools across both Cork and Kerry came together to celebrate the social justice projects that they have carried out throughout the year under the SVP Youth for Justice programme.
Some of the projects submitted helped to raise awareness of issues pertaining to disadvantage, inequality, support for senior citizens, and the establishment of St Vincent de Paul youth conferences in their schools.
SVP South-West regional president Paddy O’Flynn praised the students for their commitment in helping other people in their community.
“Your inspiring projects are great, and it gives me great hope for the future to see your commitment to helping others in your communities. Across Cork and Kerry, there are 102 local SVP groups quietly working in their communities to help families and individuals in need,” he said.
Mr O’Flynn gave a detailed breakdown of the supports the national charity organisation provided in both Cork and Kerry last year.
“We provided 14,000 food hampers and 28,500 vouchers for food and essentials. 545 homes were assisted with electricity and gas bills and more than 9,425 bags of coal and blocks were delivered to heat homes. 620 families were assisted with education costs at primary and second level. 186 students were assisted through the SVP Education Bursary Fund to enable them to go to or stay in college.”
The SVP regional president concluded his speech with advice for the TY students.
“We live in a challenging world but one where you have many opportunities. Giving up is far too easy. It’s often said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
“Do you respond to your challenges or let them overcome you and become stuck in self-doubt? You already have the strength and tools to overcome any challenge you may face,” he added.
SVP national president, Rose McGowan then addressed the students from the secondary schools in Cork and Kerry. She praised the students for their work and wished them well in their future careers and lives.
Ms McGowan said the St Vincent de Paul continues to address needs within their local communities. “You all know the story about the Good Samaritan who helped a man who had been attacked by robbers and left for dead while others simply passed him by. Frederick Ozanam and St Vincent de Paul were both like the Good Samaritan.
"They did not ignore disadvantage when they saw others turn away but helped those in need. To this day members, volunteers, and staff of Vincent de Paul continue this mission worldwide, working together to address needs within their local communities,” she said.
She outlined the many benefits that are provided to families and communities by St Vincent de Paul.
“We provide food, housing, education, and family supports to those in need so that they can become self-sufficient and not dependent on charity to survive. We also call out discrimination and inequality through our work in social justice.
“The Youth for Justice programme gives young people like you an opportunity to play your part. After all you are the next generation. I wish you well in your future and I hope in time you play your part again in helping those in need. No doubt some of you may become members,” she added.
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