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'17 under 17' showcase leaders of tomorrow from Northern Ireland, Cork, Waterford and Sligo

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Each of the ‘17 under 17’ youths were chosen for their work and contribution to their local communities through Young SVP, the National Youth Development Programme.

Each of the ‘17 under 17’ youths were chosen for their work and contribution to their local communities through Young SVP, the National Youth Development Programme.

Each of the ‘17 under 17’ youths were chosen for their work and contribution to their local communities through Young SVP, the National Youth Development Programme.

Last month we asked #WhatDoYouSee? Now we’re showcasing 17 of the most promising Young SVP members.

Following the release of #WhatDoYouSee, a cutting edge short film, we’ve identified the next generation of potential leaders from across the country, in the ‘17 Under 17’ series. Hailing from Cork, Waterford, Sligo and Northern Ireland, each of the 17 secondary school students star in a stunning photography collection, taken by award winning South African photographer Kevin Goss-Ross.

Each of the ‘17 under 17’ youths were chosen for their stellar work and contribution to their local communities in Ireland, through Young SVP, the National Youth Development Programme.

Taking inspiration from Forbes’ infamous ‘30 Under 30’ series, we turned the traditional model on its head, and instead of celebrating young professionals for their business achievements, we celebrated teenagers for their social justice achievements. 

For three years, we have been a partner of the Young SVP National Youth Development Programme that encourages young people into social action and promotes their social and personal development. Some of the projects currently in progress by the students that feature in Electric Ireland’s ‘17 Under 17’ include: befriending projects, direct aid projects and education projects. 

At Electric Ireland and Young SVP we recognise that young people have huge potential and can be an amazing asset to their communities when given the opportunity. Each of the teens who took part are influential in their own right, but also representatives of their peers.

“Through the support of Young SVP, Electric Ireland continues its commitment to reaching even the most vulnerable in society by empowering young people in Ireland to make a positive impact on their communities. The ‘17 Under 17’ series celebrates the vibrancy and heroism of the young people in the Young SVP programme,” said Jim Dollard, Executive Director of Electric Ireland.

Becca Gallagher, SVP National Youth Development Coordinator commented: “Young SVP is important because it’s instilling a sense of worth in teenagers and setting them on the right path to adulthood. Young people are passionate, dynamic and enthusiastic to get involved when given the chance. Young SVP gives them a voice and makes sure it’s heard.”

Electric Ireland has had a long standing partnership with St. Vincent de Paul, working together to provide assistance to any customers experiencing financial difficulty. SVP often works directly with Electric Ireland to help customers manage their energy bills and be more budget savvy. 

See the full '17 Under 17' series here on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

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Michael Rooney, 17, Co.Antrim 
EVENT ORGANISATION 
"Young SVP has helped me realise that being poor is not just about struggling financially. People can be poor with regards to having no friends or family, no support and no hope for the future. As a member of Young SVP, I've learned a lot about organising events and visitations that address these issues in the community. I've learned that I love making a positive difference in the world. The work we've done may only be at a local level, but there is a great sense of satisfaction that comes with it." 

Michael Rooney, 17, Co.Antrim EVENT ORGANISATION "Young SVP has helped me realise that being poor is not just about struggling financially. People can be poor with regards to having no friends or family, no support and no hope for the future. As a member of Young SVP, I've learned a lot about organising events and visitations that address these issues in the community. I've learned that I love making a positive difference in the world. The work we've done may only be at a local level, but there is a great sense of satisfaction that comes with it." 

Clodagh McGurk, 16, Co.Antrim 
BUILDING CONFIDENCE 
“During my time as a SVP youth member, I have learnt to truly value and appreciate everything I have. I now have a greater understanding of the need for empathy and compassion for those less fortunate than me. This new mindframe motivates me to help others whenever I can. Through Young SVP, my social and leadership skills have improved massively. I’m more confident and willing to step outside my comfort zone.”

Clodagh McGurk, 16, Co.Antrim BUILDING CONFIDENCE “During my time as a SVP youth member, I have learnt to truly value and appreciate everything I have. I now have a greater understanding of the need for empathy and compassion for those less fortunate than me. This new mindframe motivates me to help others whenever I can. Through Young SVP, my social and leadership skills have improved massively. I’m more confident and willing to step outside my comfort zone.”

Tegan Hurley, 17, Co.Cork 
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES 
“Young SVP helped me realise that it’s just as important to look after our mental health as our physical health, as it affects the way we approach everyday life. We learned ways of coping with difficult situations that we then taught to younger students in our school. The work we did made me realise that even the small things we do to help someone can have a huge impact in their life.’

Tegan Hurley, 17, Co.Cork MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES “Young SVP helped me realise that it’s just as important to look after our mental health as our physical health, as it affects the way we approach everyday life. We learned ways of coping with difficult situations that we then taught to younger students in our school. The work we did made me realise that even the small things we do to help someone can have a huge impact in their life.’

Patrick Sweeney, 16, Co.Sligo 
IMPORTANCE OF THE ELDERLY 
“Working with Young SVP has really helped me with my confidence and my leadership skills. We worked with elderly people gathering photos from their families to create ‘digital stories’ of their memories. Through this work I learned the importance of listening to older people and gained an appreciation for the valuable things they can teach us..”

Patrick Sweeney, 16, Co.Sligo IMPORTANCE OF THE ELDERLY “Working with Young SVP has really helped me with my confidence and my leadership skills. We worked with elderly people gathering photos from their families to create ‘digital stories’ of their memories. Through this work I learned the importance of listening to older people and gained an appreciation for the valuable things they can teach us..”

Joseph O’Connor, 16, Co.Sligo 
LEARNING TO LISTEN 
“I joined the Young SVP because I felt I could help change people’s lives for the better. We visited children with special needs and learned that even little things, like sharing a story or a laugh with someone, can make a big difference in someone’s life. Young SVP has definitely helped me become a better listener and a better leader.” 

Joseph O’Connor, 16, Co.Sligo LEARNING TO LISTEN “I joined the Young SVP because I felt I could help change people’s lives for the better. We visited children with special needs and learned that even little things, like sharing a story or a laugh with someone, can make a big difference in someone’s life. Young SVP has definitely helped me become a better listener and a better leader.” 

Glen Harte, 14, Co.Down 
BECOMING A TEAM PLAYER 
“I wanted to get involved in an organisation like Young SVP because as my Granny always told me, ‘It’s good to help people.’ What I learned about myself is that I really like helping people and making a difference. I also learned that I enjoy team work with each member playing their part on a particular project. I feel Young SVP has helped my confidence when it comes to making my voice heard in a group.” 

Glen Harte, 14, Co.Down BECOMING A TEAM PLAYER “I wanted to get involved in an organisation like Young SVP because as my Granny always told me, ‘It’s good to help people.’ What I learned about myself is that I really like helping people and making a difference. I also learned that I enjoy team work with each member playing their part on a particular project. I feel Young SVP has helped my confidence when it comes to making my voice heard in a group.” 

Evan Murray, 17, Co.Cork 
FRIENDS OF ALL AGES
“The most important thing that I learned from working with Young SVP was that it doesn’t take much to give up a little time and help others. It showed me that sometimes volunteers can be taken for granted but their work is essential to the local community. Young SVP also gave me the chance to make new friends of all ages and learn things about the people in my community, and myself.” 

Evan Murray, 17, Co.Cork FRIENDS OF ALL AGES “The most important thing that I learned from working with Young SVP was that it doesn’t take much to give up a little time and help others. It showed me that sometimes volunteers can be taken for granted but their work is essential to the local community. Young SVP also gave me the chance to make new friends of all ages and learn things about the people in my community, and myself.” 

Cian Whiteside, 16, Co.Sligo 
LEARNING ABOUT REFUGEES 
“I really feel like I’ve learned a great deal about myself from the Young SVP project I worked on. I’ve always been interested in sports, which was a good asset to bring to our project, especially for the boys in our group. Getting to work with children of refugees and asylum seekers has changed my outlook for the better. I’ve learned to be more patient, helpful and understanding.” 

Cian Whiteside, 16, Co.Sligo LEARNING ABOUT REFUGEES “I really feel like I’ve learned a great deal about myself from the Young SVP project I worked on. I’ve always been interested in sports, which was a good asset to bring to our project, especially for the boys in our group. Getting to work with children of refugees and asylum seekers has changed my outlook for the better. I’ve learned to be more patient, helpful and understanding.” 

Gavin Fanning, 17, Co.Waterford 
PUBLIC SPEAKING 
“Young SVP has really helped me with my public speaking. Even though there are a lot of us in the group, everyone’s opinion is listened to. My main role is the secretary of the committee, so I record the minutes of each meeting. Through our work with other schools, we’ve raised awareness about Young SVP and I learned that I can make a big difference in my community.”

Gavin Fanning, 17, Co.Waterford PUBLIC SPEAKING “Young SVP has really helped me with my public speaking. Even though there are a lot of us in the group, everyone’s opinion is listened to. My main role is the secretary of the committee, so I record the minutes of each meeting. Through our work with other schools, we’ve raised awareness about Young SVP and I learned that I can make a big difference in my community.”

Marlene Murray, 17, Co.Cork
GRATITUDE 
“The most important thing I learned working with Young SVP is that spending time making other people happy really makes me happy. We worked with younger children and elderly people and made a lot of new friends. Through Young SVP we were able to give back to our community and Young SVP celebrated our work.”

Marlene Murray, 17, Co.Cork GRATITUDE “The most important thing I learned working with Young SVP is that spending time making other people happy really makes me happy. We worked with younger children and elderly people and made a lot of new friends. Through Young SVP we were able to give back to our community and Young SVP celebrated our work.”

Jayne Feehily, 17, Co.Sligo 
LEARNING ABOUT OTHER CULTURES  
“I was in Transition Year and felt that joining Young SVP would be a great opportunity to use my time to help people. We worked with children from different parts of the world, helping them with their reading. I learned that I can be patient and gentle. I work well with children, and Young SVP taught me  how to work with children who have a range of different personalities and abilities.” 

Jayne Feehily, 17, Co.Sligo LEARNING ABOUT OTHER CULTURES  “I was in Transition Year and felt that joining Young SVP would be a great opportunity to use my time to help people. We worked with children from different parts of the world, helping them with their reading. I learned that I can be patient and gentle. I work well with children, and Young SVP taught me  how to work with children who have a range of different personalities and abilities.” 

Emmett Russell, 17, Co.Cork 
LEADERSHIP SKILLS  
“I really liked that, through Young SVP, we were able to make a difference in our local community. I learned a lot about leadership and organisation as my role was making sure everyone involved in the projects knew when and where they were needed. I found that the most important thing was to create a positive atmosphere everywhere we went.” 

Emmett Russell, 17, Co.Cork LEADERSHIP SKILLS  “I really liked that, through Young SVP, we were able to make a difference in our local community. I learned a lot about leadership and organisation as my role was making sure everyone involved in the projects knew when and where they were needed. I found that the most important thing was to create a positive atmosphere everywhere we went.” 

Sinead Purkiss, 16, Co.Wexford 
POWER OF CHANGE  
“I feel that Young SVP highlights that our generation have the power to change the future. It helps you step out of your own shoes and focus on helping others. In Young SVP we all worked as a team and learned new skills by stepping out of our comfort zones. I’ve learned that confidence is not a personality trait. It is a skill which you can improve on. If you try and improve it you will be be grateful for the rest of your life.” 

Sinead Purkiss, 16, Co.Wexford POWER OF CHANGE  “I feel that Young SVP highlights that our generation have the power to change the future. It helps you step out of your own shoes and focus on helping others. In Young SVP we all worked as a team and learned new skills by stepping out of our comfort zones. I’ve learned that confidence is not a personality trait. It is a skill which you can improve on. If you try and improve it you will be be grateful for the rest of your life.” 

Jack Hickey, 17, Co.Tipperary 
ROLES IN SOCIETY 
“Young SVP is a fantastic outlet for young people to channel their energy into positive work. It is essential that we recognise the different societal roles of certain groups and that we try and bridge the gap between these groups in a safe, engaging and positive environment. Through Young SVP I’ve learned a lot, not only about myself, but also other people. I have gained great confidence from my involvement, socially and with regards to academia.” 

Jack Hickey, 17, Co.Tipperary ROLES IN SOCIETY “Young SVP is a fantastic outlet for young people to channel their energy into positive work. It is essential that we recognise the different societal roles of certain groups and that we try and bridge the gap between these groups in a safe, engaging and positive environment. Through Young SVP I’ve learned a lot, not only about myself, but also other people. I have gained great confidence from my involvement, socially and with regards to academia.” 

Tomas Moore, 16, Co.Waterford 
OVERCOMING SHYNESS 
“I’ve learned a lot about myself since getting involved with YSVP, our work involved a lot of community development and this meant I got to meet a lot of interesting people and dynamic characters. I would have been quite shy before getting involved but through public speaking and working with the rest of the team my confidence has grown.”

Tomas Moore, 16, Co.Waterford OVERCOMING SHYNESS “I’ve learned a lot about myself since getting involved with YSVP, our work involved a lot of community development and this meant I got to meet a lot of interesting people and dynamic characters. I would have been quite shy before getting involved but through public speaking and working with the rest of the team my confidence has grown.”

Chris Glynn, 17, Co.Waterford 
SENSE OF PURPOSE 
“Young SVP is a fantastic programme, particularly for transition year students. In transition year, you really do get what you give and being able to take part in Young SVP gave us all a great outlet. Everyone in the group was listened to and it gave us a sense of purpose and importance within our community.”

Chris Glynn, 17, Co.Waterford SENSE OF PURPOSE “Young SVP is a fantastic programme, particularly for transition year students. In transition year, you really do get what you give and being able to take part in Young SVP gave us all a great outlet. Everyone in the group was listened to and it gave us a sense of purpose and importance within our community.”

Rachel McCarthy, 17, Co.Cork 
POSITIVE IMPACT 
“My group project with YSVP was all about promoting positive mental health amongst the Junior Cert cycle students. We taught them how to cope, and where to seek help. Personally it taught me what a positive impact being open about your mental health has on your life. It’s ok not to be ok and to ask for help.”

Rachel McCarthy, 17, Co.Cork POSITIVE IMPACT “My group project with YSVP was all about promoting positive mental health amongst the Junior Cert cycle students. We taught them how to cope, and where to seek help. Personally it taught me what a positive impact being open about your mental health has on your life. It’s ok not to be ok and to ask for help.”

Michael Rooney, 17, Co.Antrim EVENT ORGANISATION "Young SVP has helped me realise that being poor is not just about struggling financially. People can be poor with regards to having no friends or family, no support and no hope for the future. As a member of Young SVP, I've learned a lot about organising events and visitations that address these issues in the community. I've learned that I love making a positive difference in the world. The work we've done may only be at a local level, but there is a great sense of satisfaction that comes with it." 

Belfast Telegraph