From the Classroom to the Police Station

rise 2019 garda visit

“Through our trip to the Garda Station, we opened up a conversation that will help in the long run. I will stay involved in my community by getting around the community leaders more.” – David

This past school year we facilitated three RISE leadership programmes, as Innovista staff and volunteers. Four further programmes were facilitated by others in Mullingar (by Youth for Christ Ireland and a school chaplain) and Coleraine (by a church youth worker). Over 100 teenagers participated in the programme this year carrying out some great community projects as part of the programme.

One in particular was addressing the harassment teens in inner city Dublin feel they receive from the Gardaí. The teens are stopped and searched a lot and even have their bikes taken off them by the Gardaí so their community project idea was to visit the local Garda station and talk with the officers. They contacted Kevin Street Station in Dublin and the sergeant was more than happy to have them for a tour and cuppa to talk about the relationship between local teens and Gardaí. We spent 2 hours touring the new station, hearing about what it’s like being a Guard and then sat down with two officers to ask them open and honest questions. It was amazing to see the teens strive to make things better for themselves, their friends and those they live with in their community.

Another project came from a class of girls in Dublin wanting to know more about domestic violence as they don’t feel they learn enough about it in school. They contacted Aoibhneas, a women and children’s refuge in Dublin to see if they could come to talk to the 4th and 5th years in the school. So because of this group of teens, 120 inner city girls learned about domestic violence, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships and services available to them in crisis.

This year’s RISE programmes exhibited how powerful and inspiring teenagers are! They can help raise money for the local homeless, educate each other on important issues, improve their transition year programme, create safe nightlife activities for their peers,  and even ask adult leaders tough questions.

Innovista Ireland’s RISE leadership programme equips teenagers with the skills to identify and meet needs in their area through carrying out a community service programme, and is being developed as a resource for churches as part of their mission strategy.

“I learned that if people work together they can make a difference.” – Michael

“My favourite part of Rise was coming up with a plan to help our community. I learned more ways to improve our community.” – Chloe