Killarney students take Cork City Hall by storm

The award winning Be Dementia Aware group, from left, teacher Lorraine Crowley, Ben Cussen, Julia Olabode, Darja Puzanova, Ares Farre, Caoimhe Fleming, Aoife O’ Brien and teacher Karina McCarthy

BRIGHT spark transition year students from Killarney Community College flew the school flag at this year’s Young Social Innovators Speakout which took place in Cork City Hall.

The project for senior cycle students in a youth-led, team-based, action and change focused programme and, working in teams, young people aged between 15 and 18 identify a social issue of concern to them, explore it and come up with real actions to create change.

The students from Killarney Community College chose two issues they feel very passionate about.

The first is Be Dementia Aware and student Darja Puzanova said it is to raise awareness about the types of dementia, the symptoms and the importance of brain health.

The students involved in the school’s Aid For Life project

“As one of our main goals, we want to provide support to the families and loved ones of people who have dementia and we are not just focusing on the term,” she said.

The group of six students believe that this issue needed to be explored and they want to create an environment where everyone can support people with dementia and their loved ones through difficult times. The TY students completed research to determine the level of knowledge and awareness of dementia the students in the school already possessed and they interviewed Vanessa Bradbury, a dementia advisor who works with the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, and some people who have family members with the condition.

The students then created educational short videos which are available to view on their Youtube channel, a website and brochure with reliable information on supports available.

The students also hosted a #denimdayfordementia in Killarney Community College and they raised €510 for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

They won the award for having the best props at the Young Social Innovators event and their teacher, Lorraine Crowley, received an award for the most inspirational YSI guide for the second year in a row.

The second project, Aid For Life, aims to promote the importance of knowing first aid. This group of students completed research to find out the level of knowledge teachers and students have about administering first aid and they put a heavy emphasis on training.

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