Young Social Innovators

Young Social Innovators Action Programme in Patrician High School


The YSI Social Innovation ACTION Programme is a youth-led, team-based, action focused programme for young people aged between 15-18 years based in schools, youthreach, youth services or youth groups throughout Ireland. Working in teams of 5-25 innovators are challenged to identify a social issue of importance to them and to come up with and implement creative solutions. To date over 55,000 young people have taken part in this programme and have tackled a wide range of issues including justice & human rights, democracy, health, community, the environment, and many more!
The 4 C’s of Social Innovation

Each Action project is based on YSI’s 4 C’s of Social Innovation

CARE: Teams come together to identify and choose a social issue that they all feel passionately about and would like to do something about.
COOPERATE: As well as working together, teams are encouraged to form wider links within their school or youth group and out into into the wider community and beyond.
COMMUNICATE: Teams are encouraged to communicate their message to as wide as audience as possible using lots of different means.
CHANGE: Once the plan has been agreed, teams take action and implement their ideas to bring about positive change.

The Speak Outs
In March all YSI Action teams are invited to a regionalSpeak Out event where they are challenged to present their chosen social issues and their ideas for action. Each team is given 2 minutes to make their presentation on stage. All presentations are listened to by a YSI Panel as well as a large audience of other young social innovators, YSI Guides and invited guests.

The Report
Teams submit a short online project report via the YSI Hub by the early March deadline. An independent YSI Panel considers all reports submitted and provides feedback based on the evidence from both the project report and Speak Out presentation. Feedback is presented to YSI Guides against a robust rubric. YSI is about self directed and evidence based learning.

The Annual Showcase
The year culminates with a national celebration at the YSI Annual Showcase. Every YSI team is invited to this event to celebrate the work that they have done throughout the year bringing positive change to communities across Ireland. 4000+ young people attend this event annually and it is the biggest of its kind in Ireland. As well as showcasing the project work by young people, there are games, music, dancing, and a spectacular Awards Ceremony to close the year.

One of the first schools in Ireland to launch their YSI ‘We Innovate’ flag was Patrician High School in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan.
At the beginning of November the staff and students of Patrician High School held a launch event for the raising of their Young Social Innovators ‘We Innovate’ flag. They are one of the first schools to have received this award, which was launched in March 2014 by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, to recognise schools and youth organisations committed to social innovation education.

The Monaghan school introduced Young Social Innovators in 2011 when eleven students and one teacher took part in a project which aimed to challenge the perception of disability. This year forty students and three teachers are involved in the YSI Social Innovation ACTION programme.

Some of the other projects carried out by the Patrician innovators over the past number of years have included ‘It’s OK to be Gay’ a project which looked at the challenges facing the LGBT community, ‘Glass Half Full’, a project promoting positive mental health, ‘Beat the Bug’, a project which dealt with issues surrounding cancer which is being continued by this year’s participants, as well as two further current projects looking at environmental awareness and physical health.

To launch our flag, the group invited a local innovator PJ O Hanlon to the school. PJ had been involved with several of the YSI project teams from Carrickmacross over the years.