Young Social Innovators via Instagram

'Deal with the Wheels': These teenagers are leading the way on some of society's most important issues

A group of students will vie for the title of Young Social Innovators 2017 at the Convention Centre in May.

A TOTAL OF 11 groups of secondary school students from around the country have been selected as the winners of this year’s Young Social Innovators Challenge Awards.

This initiative invites young people to form their own solutions to the wider problems they find around them.

Human trafficking, sexual consent, social inclusion and climate change are among the range of societal issues addressed by these groups, and these young innovators will now vie with each other to win the grand title of Young Social Innovators of the Year.

The co-founder and CEO of Young Social Innovators, Rachel Collier, said that the initiative empowers young people to innovate and bring about change on issues that are important to them.

She said that giving young people this opportunity leads to the creation of “new responses and solutions for societal issues” as well as creating a culture where people think outside the box to solve the problems they are faced with.

A total of 7,353 students across 456 teams and 220 schools participated in this year’s Young Social Innovators and here are some of the picks among the award winners:

Concussion Discussion

A group of entrepreneurial lads at the Christian Brothers Secondary School in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, created Concussion Discussion, a company that provides a set of medical supplies to help deal with potential concussions suffered by sportspeople.

The issue of concussion in sports such as rugby, American football and GAA has gained more notoriety in recent years, as our understanding of the lasting effect that these serious injuries can have has become clearer.

Concussion Discussion sell a kit, costing €10, that contains a medical torch, ear plugs, a printed set of guidelines on how to react in the event of a concussion, and three foil blankets.

Deal with the Wheels

Students at St Mary’s Secondary School in Ballina, Co Mayo, created a project aimed at improving wheelchair accessibility in their local area.

They’ve aimed to raise awareness of issues around accessibility for wheelchair users in the area, and have won support from a range of locals, including their local TD Dara Calleary.

deal with the wheels Deal with the Wheels Deal with the Wheels

deals with the wheels Deal with the Wheels Deal with the Wheels

Ditch your Carbon Cup-Print

Transition year students at Christian Brothers School in Charleville, Co Cork, had the environment in mind, with their project called “Ditch your Carbon Cup-Print”.

Intended to show how some of our everyday actions can fight climate change and protect the environment, the initiative encourages people to bring their own reusable cup instead of using a paper cup when they’re buying a tea or coffee.

The students planned to network with local businesses to offer a discount for coffee consumers when they brought in their own reusable cup for a limited time, to try get people into the habit.

Mend a Mind – It’s a disorder not a decision

Students at Largy College in Clones, Co Monaghan, chose mental health as their focus with the project Mend a Mind – it’s a disorder not a decision.

The group aims to eliminate the stigma that surrounds mental illness in the community.

They’ve already won a few awards for their efforts, creating their own videos to challenge pre-conceived notions around mental health.

It’s the Yes, Not the Dress

Sexual consent is the theme for this project from students at Eureka Secondary School in Kells, Co Meath.

The group aims to raise awareness around the sexualisation of young women and the importance of consent.

Convention centre

The winner of the Young Social Innovators 2017, in collaboration with Ulster Bank, will be announced at a ceremony in the Convention Centre on 11 May. Over 800 students from around the country will be at the event.

“There is a huge appetite amongst young people throughout Ireland for social justice and fairness,” added Collier. “Young Social Innovators gives them the opportunity to do this and at the same time, improve their innovative and entrepreneurial abilities.”

Read: App that encourages children with autism to make eye contact wins at BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp

Read: 20 Under 20: Ireland’s brightest and most inspirational rising stars

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