Society of St. Vincent de Paul Mid-West celebrates the work of young volunteers!

Last week The Society of St Vincent de Paul Mid-West hosted the annual Young SVP Day showcasing and celebrating the work of their young volunteers.
Young SVP is a youth development programme which aims to provide opportunities for young people to engage in social action in their own communities, encouraging personal and social development. It allows students to learn new skills, develop their understanding of social justice, give back to their community and gain experience of youth led social action.
The programme is in its third year in the Mid-West Region, and it has grown so much that there’s already 32 groups from Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and Offaly taking part, with nearly 400 students attending the yearly event.
The day was a fantastic opportunity to acknow-ledge all the young people in our communities who selflessly give of their time and talents to help others through the Young SVP programme.
During the day, the young volunteers not only inspired each other, but also had a chance to interact with SVP volunteers and hear from a guest speaker Noel Keating on the topic of spirituality and meditation. We looked at what inspires us to do good, and at one stage nearly 400 people in the room tried to meditate together, which one must acknowledge is a challenge!
Each group had a stand where they interacted with others, learned and shared advice on how to plan their activities and ensure they have impact.
We have much to be proud of in Limerick City and County as we had 10 groups representing us!
Young people from Limerick Youth Service Southside decided to continue on their Young SVP journey this year, and they focused on one of the biggest issues they see around them, homelessness. The group raised awareness and organised a Giving Tree project at Christmas to provide presents for children in our community experiencing home-lessness!
Salesian Secondary College from Pallaskenry continued strong this year, with more members joining their conference. They organised a donation drive at Christmas to support local families with food and presents. In their now established tradition of supporting the local senior citizen’s group, they organised a bake sale and the proceeds of that were donated to the local senior citizens group. They are now planning an education project to inform junior cycle students of their work with SVP and to give them a chance to join the school conference next year.
Scoil Pól in Kilfinane joined Young SVP this year, jumping straight into organising a massive food and toy collection at Christmas and providing much needed support to people in need in their community. They’ve established a link with their local SVP, and after organising a lock-in in the school raised enough funds to buy 23 bags of coal and then donated to SVP. The lock-in was a great way of raising both awareness and funds, not just for the students taking part, but also for the rest of the school who had a chance to learn from that.
St John the Baptist Community School started a Young SVP conference this year, at first focusing on a bake sale and fundraising before Christmas. They realised this kind of fundraiser works well for them, so just before St. Patrick’s Day they organised a non-uniform day where they also prepared Tayto sandwiches and again raised funds to be donated to the local SVP. The next thing they have planned is raising awareness of the SVP shops, Vincent’s, by organising a fashion show with clothes from Vincent’s in their school.
Coláiste Na Trócaire from Rathkeale also joined Young SVP this year, starting off with a launch of their conference in November! They explored issues in their community and decided to organise a fundraiser to support the work of SVP. Their favourite project were Cupid’s Bars, bars of chocolate with personalised messages prepared and delivered to students across the school on Valentine’s day. Both the students and teachers were thrilled with the uptake, it got the whole school buzzing, and everyone wanted to take part!
During the day the students were also joined by SVP members who were impressed and inspired by all the work that has been done already. As the event was organised mid-year, there is still plenty of time for all groups to build on existing or work on new projects, as well as for other groups to come on board if they are interested.
For more information on the Young SVP Programme, please contact our Youth Development Officer – Ivana Kolic on (085) 253 9696 or