FIVE volunteer leaders representing Donegal attended the 43rd National Leaders’ Conference of Foróige, Ireland’s leading and largest youth organisation, which took place in Sligo.
Almost 200 Foróige volunteer leaders from all over the country took part in the conference, themed Learning for Living Life, AT the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ballincar.
New figures released at the conference show the organisation now works with 56,127 young people and 5,442 volunteers each year through a network of 612 volunteer-led clubs, 150 projects and national programmes such as Entrepreneurship, Citizenship and Leadership.
Paul Maher, Chairperson of the National Executive of Foróige, said: “This is something that we should all be very proud of. We are the leading and largest youth organisation in the country. “While this is a fantastic achievement, it is also a position of much responsibility, a platform from which we must continue to grow, innovate and reach out to all young people.”
The figures come after new independent research carried out on the impact of Foróige volunteer-led youth clubs show they improve young people’s social, psychological and emotional skills. The NUI Galway study, led by Dr Brian McGrath from the university’s School of Political Science and Sociology, found that young people’s life skills were improved.
The year-long study also found that club involvement promotes a stronger sense of community awareness and belonging, with two out of three young people reporting faring better as a result of being a club member.
“For the first time in our history we have a body of evidence that tells us that youth work works and that what we do in Foróige works,” Mr Maher added.
The conference also celebrated volunteerism and paid tribute to all the volunteers who give of their time, energy and expertise to help improve the lives of young people across Ireland.