A group of secondary school students in Co Mayo spent their transition year raising vital funds for St. Vincent de Paul.
Pupils from Scoil Muire agus Pádraig in Swinford organized various fundraisers for the charity, raising a total of €500.
Cian McNicholas, 16, and Sean Healy, 16, both in their fifth year, said volunteering at the charity made them more aware of the importance of poverty.
“We hosted a bake sale, a patchy day, a quiz and flower boxes for the local hospital,” Cian said.
“It certainly opened our eyes to the wider community, even here in Swinford, the vital donations we raised it was only €500 but I’m sure it has come a long way in charity.
“We had the time in TY, we were lucky in that sense, it certainly opened our eyes to organizing events and the responsibilities that come with it. Organizing these events and seeing them come to life is the greatest thing about the whole module.
“We used the money from the bake sale to set up our flower boxes and give them to the local hospital here in Swinford. It was an opportunity for everyone in the year to get involved.”
Mr Healy said the charity has a reputation for upholding people’s dignity while offering a helping hand.
“I got involved because I believe St Vincent de Paul is having a profound impact on all communities across Ireland. I feel like it helps people protect their dignity and helps those who may be in dark places in their lives and really gets them back on their feet,” he said.
“It made me more aware of the importance of poverty, because poverty doesn’t really mean living on the streets. You might live a seemingly normal life, but you might suffer behind closed doors.
“Saint Vincent de Paul really taught me that they recognize these people in the local communities and do their best to help them and bring them back to where they deserve.”
In partnership with Mayo News, the transition cohort also created a magazine called “Swinford SVP” to document the experience.
Mr Healy encouraged any young person who could have a little free time to consider volunteering with a local charity.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are; Everyone can help even in small ways. St. Vincent de Paul is involving all ages, young and old, to try to help those who may be less fortunate,” he said.
“I think I would encourage other young people to think about donating any free time they have to a charity.”
The charity has a youth development program designed for secondary and third grade students.
The program focuses on social action within the ethos and mission of the SVP. Young people are given the opportunity to learn about social justice and some are involved in fundraising.
In 2019 and 2020, the Young SVP team conducted a total of 826 school visits in more than 209 schools and other institutions.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/its-made-us-more-aware-of-the-meaning-of-poverty-students-in-mayo-raise-vital-funds-for-st-vincent-de-paul-42180612.html ‘It made us more aware of the importance of poverty’ – Students in Mayo collect vital donations for St. Vincent de Paul