Think Big with Paul O'Connell
Irish rugby star Paul O’Connell was in Limerick last November to mentor a group of young people who are participating in the nationwide Think Big programme. At the O2 offices in Limerick he offered encouragement to 20 participants from five Think Big projects (see projects below), helping them to bring their ideas to life.
Paul focused on the importance of positive mental health, teamwork and dedication - drawing on his own experiences as a leader and a member of several successful teams. It was a fantastic evening for everyone involved and a great opportunity for the participants who are working hard to change how we think about mental health and young people.
Here are the projects currently happening with Think Big:
- King’s Island drop-in: Elaine Flynn from King’s Island in Limerick plans to create a drop-in café for young people in one of the Limerick Youth Service properties. Elaine’s idea came about in response to the amount of anti-social behaviour in her community with many of those involved claiming that there’s simply nothing else to do. Elaine’s plan is to develop a youth-friendly space and invite potential users of the café to paint and help create a space to which they can both relate and have a sense of ownership.
- FML website: Robert Gould from Turner’s Cross in Cork wants to create an online resource for FML, a theatre production for the Cork Midsummer Festival. The show looks at teenage life in Ireland today and touches on many topics including bullying, body image, depression and suicide.
- Smiles all round: Josie McGrath Ryan from Mallow, Cork wants to create a games tournament in her school. She says: “A games tournament would benefit our school dramatically and give students a place to go at lunchtime. The ultimate aim is that students can feel part of something, make friends and feel better about themselves.”
- Happy thoughts for a day: Vikki Hutchinson from Birr, Co Offaly wants to spread positivity and happiness in her school by creating posters with positive quotes and decorating her school with them.
- Footsy Friday: Jonathon Collins from Garryowen and the Limerick Youth Service organised a once-off Astroturf soccer tournament in November for under 15s. Each five-a-side team from had positive mental health slogans printed on their team jerseys. Following the success of this project, Limerick Youth Service is working with young people in the area with a view to submitting more Think Big projects in 2012.