doing their part?
Just look around....
The assignment from her teacher Anne Browne was to look for teenagers who were making a difference in the Moville area of Donegal, Ireland, and write about them. It turned out to be a pretty easy task for Fionnuala De Brun, a student at Moville Community College, who was able to describe no less than a half dozen actions that she either participated in or knew about in a single, short report.
We reprint that report here, and we challenge you to find as many examples in the country’s mainstream media doing any kind of search using any combination of terms. We expect the result will be the same as for elsewhere in the world: You’ll find a lot about teenagers as having problems or being problems, but not much else.
By Fionnuala De Brun
The 12th of March was the day when we found out that schools were going to be closed for at least two weeks due to the coronavirus. It is amazing to me how happy we all were on that day because it feels like such a distant memory. All too soon two weeks became a month and the weeks kept rolling in. Now, it appears we won’t be going back to school until September at the very earliest
On a more positive note, however, I know many teenagers who are making a difference during this uncertain time. This truly demonstrates how kind we all have the potential to be.
For example many Irish teenagers are shopping for elderly family members and some are also contributing to their community by collecting litter. The charity work which has been already conducted from home is pretty awe- inspiring.
WALK, RUN, donate
Just a few days ago many people young and old got up at 4 am to complete the annual “Darkness into Light” walk for Pieta House. Pieta house is an amazing charity which helps people struggling with mental health issues. The idea of Darkness into Light is to show people that even after dark times there is always light. The Late Late Show alone raised 3 million euro for them. Unfortunately due to “restructuring” Pieta House Letterkenny is closing in June with the result that all 32 Donegal employees will lose their jobs
Another charity event in which many young people participated was the “Run for our HSE Heroes”. This was an Instagram challenge, if you were nominated you had to run 5 km, donate 5 euros and nominate 5 people. This effort in support of health workers definitely blew the cobwebs off us all. Many of my cousins in Derry have also been donating food to the hospitals.
Sew A MASK, KNIT an EXTENDEr, SHare A TALENT
Additionally myself and a few other students have been taking part in our Pope John Paul Award to help some of the frontline healthcare workers in Letterkenny University Hospital. We have been knitting headbands for their face masks as their ears were raw from the elastics. The headbands measure 4cm x 10cm and they have two buttons sewn onto them The elastic of the mask sits onto the buttons at the back of the wearer’s head thus protecting the ear from the elastic. I have knit two so far and others have knit lots too. It is such an easy way to make a difference during this tough time. [Editor’s note: The Pope John Paul Award encourages Catholic students at several age levels to do projects that serve the community.]
Furthermore a fifth year student from our school Moville Community College has also done a lot for those working on the front line. Kayleigh Sweeney and her mother have worked very hard sewing cloth masks for hospital staff. Initially they worked day and night to make these masks as there was an extreme shortage in this area.
In total they have made just under 700 masks. Each mask takes an average of 15 minutes to make. These masks were made from donated fabric and were distributed to local care home workers, residents, Altnagelvin Hospital staff members and the Fishery in Greencastle. Kayleigh was motivated by her gratitude to front line workers and she was also inspired by her mum who has worked as a carer throughout the current crisis.
Covid-19 has also shown me the variety of talents young people have as they are becoming more comfortable showcasing them especially on social media. Teens have created Instagram pages for fashion, music, makeup, baking and loads more.
GO, PRAY, RECORD, SHOW
Additionally over Easter, a number of Pope John Paul Award students recorded live broadcasts of the Rosary and told the stories of Good Friday on Facebook live. We felt that this was very important as there were so many elderly people missing out on religious services which have always formed such a huge part of their lives. This also gave us hours for our award in a fun way. Our parish leader Lizzie Rea who is also a past pupil of Moville Community College is helping us so much with all of this.
I think that young people have definitely made a great difference to the world during this difficult time and I am extremely proud of our generation for using their talents and knowledge of technology in such a positive way.
The author (inset) interviews mask-maker Kayleigh Sweeny
Knitted ear protectors