“Despite often coming from difficult backgrounds, young people can achieve so much” – The Gaisce Award at Oberstown

The hard work and determination of young people at Oberstown Children Detention Campus came to fruition at a presentation held on campus last month which saw participants in Gaisce – The President’s Award being presented with their Bronze and Silver Awards.

The young people at Oberstown successfully completed their Gaisce – The President’s Award challenges over the past 12 months across the four categories of community involvement, personal skills, physical recreation, and adventure journey. The participants took part in a range of activities to achieve their awards including football coaching, barista training, culinary and baking skills and charity and community projects.

Yvonne McKenna, CEO, Gaisce – The President’s Award said:

“A proven self-development programme, Gaisce is a framework through which young people are supported to develop the social and emotional competencies we know are central to making positive life choices, to reaching potential and to flourishing – from empathy to self-efficacy, confidence to wellbeing.

The partnership we have with Oberstown is a very important one for Gaisce: not only because, right since its inception 35 years ago, the organisation has been committed to ensuring that all young people in Ireland, no matter their personal circumstances, have the opportunity to participate in the Gaisce programme and achieve a Gaisce Award, but because the values that underpin Oberstown’s model of care are ones we fully support.”

Gaisce Award Oberstown

Director of Oberstown, Damien Hernon with Robert Emmet CDP Beekeeper, Anthony Freeman O’ Brien and Yvonne McKenna, CEO of Gaisce – The President’s Award

Completing the programme is a major achievement, with young people developing a wide range of practical and life skills, building self-confidence and resilience, and focusing on positive outcomes.

Speaking after the awards ceremony, Director of Oberstown, Damien Hernon said: “We are so proud of the young people who have received their Gaisce awards and the staff who guided them on their journey.

The awards illustrate how, despite often coming from difficult backgrounds, young people can achieve so much when they are provided with a safe and secure environment and the supports needed to flourish. The aim of Gaisce is to support young people in fulfilling their potential which aligns with our commitment at Oberstown to help young people to return to their communities and make a positive contribution.”

In addition to the young people taking part in the Gaisce Award, the wider community at Oberstown also took on Gaisce’s Bulbs for Bees Challenge earlier this year by planting pollinator friendly bulbs on campus to help protect our vital bee population.

The BulbsForBees campaign is a national call-to-action for everyone in Ireland to plant bulbs in the Autumn of 2021 which will blossom next spring to celebrate 35 years of Gaisce.

To date over half a million pollinator friendly bulbs have been planted across Ireland since the start of the campaign including at Oberstown.

Oberstown Children Detention Campus is committed to playing its part in tackling the climate emergency and this is one of a number of biodiversity initiatives taking place across campus.

About Gaisce – The President’s Award

You are not comparing yourself with anyone;

you are not competing with anyone;

what you are actually doing is

creating yourself

– Brendan Kennelly, Irish poet and storyteller

Gaisce – The President’s Award is a self-development programme for young people which enhances confidence and wellbeing through participation in personal, physical, community and team challenges. Gaisce was established 35 years ago as Ireland’s highest recognition of a young person’s initiative, achievement, and voluntary contribution.

More than ¼ million Gaisce Awards have been achieved by young people across the island – participating through their schools, colleges, education centres and youth groups, disability services, direct provision centres and across youth justice and in prison settings. Gaisce is for every young person regardless of circumstance aged 14-25 and is non-competitive Award.

Gaisce is a direct challenge from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins to all young people to “dream big and realise their potential”. Despite restrictions throughout Covid-19, more than 20,000 young people participated in 2020.

Oberstown Gaisce Award

In 2020, Gaisce participants in Oberstown designed and made Christmas wreaths for the local community

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