Students from Priory Outreach, Tallaght were among over 300 young people gathered  recently for the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Young SVP East Region Youth Day 2019. ‘United in Head and Heart ‘was the theme of the day in which  participants created displays of their work, gave presentations and networked with other young volunteers. During the school year, students involved in the Young SVP programme carry out a range of actions to give back to their communities, including projects and actions on:  food poverty, climate justice, homelessness, loneliness and isolation, kindness, equality and mental health.

SVP National Youth Development Coordinator, Becca Gallagher said “the aim of the Young SVP programme is to provide opportunities for young people to engage in social action in their own communities encouraging personal and social development”. Speaking of  their experience of taking part in the Young SVP programme the young people said that it was an experience they would never forget and that they had learned more about issues in their community, how to listen to others, contribute their ideas, how to be organised and how to help others. The United in Head and Heart event was a celebration of the hard work and dedication of Young SVP volunteers in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare.

SVP member Nessan Vaughan told the group “the creativity and effort you have put in this year is overwhelming. You should all be very proud of yourselves for the work you have done to make your communities more just and fair places”. Caroline Fahey, SVP Head of Social Justice and Policy, spoke to them about the importance of standing in solidarity and encouraged the attendees to challenge the common myths about poverty. Bobby McCormack from Development Perspectives who was the Dóchas, “Global Citizen of the Year“ in 2017  addressed the students on how we can all work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Dr Noel Keating, Coordinator of Meditation with Children, spoke about meditation as a universal practice for human flourishing. Liam Casey SVP East Region President  thanked the schools, teachers and young people for bringing their enthusiasm, creativity and innovation to the work of SVP. He reminded the students that they  are the future of SVP, but also very much the present, already making a difference in the lives of others.

Also, in attendance were representatives from the Gaisce Award and the Society of African Missions.