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Mia Hutchinson

In 2011, Stephanie and I travelled to NUI Maynooth, along with roughly 300 other fifteen to eighteen year olds, to complete Module 1 of  a programme run by Ireland's leading youth organisation Foroige, called Albert Schweitzer's Leadership For Life Programme. Little did we expect what this conference would have in store for us. The week in Maynooth included workshops on leadership and all things related, guest speakers of all sorts and lots of fun and activity. There were many ways than Foroige clubs/projects to get involved in the conference. Teenagers from all corners of the globe travelled to Maynooth from countries such as America, India, South Korea, Lithuania, England, Northern Ireland, Israel and of course the Republic of Ireland.  The programmes created unforgettable memories and awakened newfound skills and talents in the participants while we all made new friends from a myriad of countries.

In 2012 the opportunity arose again for us to make the trip to Maynooth and of course, we jumped at the chance. Another phenomenal experience and Module 2 of the programme completed. The week consisted of completing a project and presenting it to an audience, amongst learning about different types of leadership, with a focus on differing communities.

Throughout the following year, Stephanie and I individually completed our Community Action Projects in our own respective communities. The challenge was to put the leadership skills and qualities into action and carry out a project that would benefit our community, or those living in our communities.

We each completed our Action Plan work book, consisting of our projects with evaluation and reflection of our actions.

The work books and projects completed were sent to the National University of Ireland, Galway where they would be submitted along with 160 other Foróige members, in the hopes of qualifying for our Foundation Certificate in Youth Leadership and Community Action.

On the 20th September 2013, we were notified that we each had passed each module with flying colours. An air of excitement hit as we realised we would be graduating as a class of this foundation certificate.

Stephanie and I, along with each of our families travelled to NUI Galway to our conferring ceremony. For two 6th year students it was quite an amazing, unforgettable experience to have had the opportunity to complete this course, at university level.

Our leadership skills have nevertheless been kept active as we are both now leaders in our Foróige clubs for young people who will undoubtedly benefit the same way in which we have from the organisation.

Mia Hutchinson 6th Year

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St Angela's School, Ursuline Convent, Waterford

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