‘Health and wellbeing is the cornerstone of our youth...’
SOUTH Kerry as a geographically peripheral area has always had to contend with the many social and economic challenges that result from a lack of investment and emigration. A situation echoed in most rural communities all along the western seaboard. Limited employment opportunities and a perception that the future lies elsewhere has meant young people are experiencing pressures and stresses above and beyond the usual demands of school life, teenage development and academic expectations.
We, as a district board, believe that we have an opportunity and perhaps even a duty to address these issues so that our young people, who are our future, can be supported, encouraged and equipped to deal with the challenges that they are faced with. Our most recent initiative has involved the setting-up of a “Health and Well Being” group which is an effort to do just that. This group comprising representatives from various sporting groups, health-care professionals and people who work with children and youth groups, has been formulated with the intention of providing supports for our young people in terms of education, general information and developing the necessary resilience and skills to help them cope with the many temptations and demands which are placed upon them.
We also hope to encourage parental participation in our initiative and provide the necessary information to help them to further support our youth. Plans are in place to fundraise for the provision of the necessary services and to support the secondary school in South Kerry, Coláiste na Sceilge, and the local GAA clubs with whatever is deemed necessary.
As all the young people from this area attend CNS during their teenage years, and as many of them are involved with their local GAA clubs, we feel these are the best means by which we can communicate with young people. It is hoped that we might also be in a position to increase participation in sports, (all sports, not just those under the umbrella of the GAA) as it is acknowledged that this is a very important area for our young people bearing in mind the benefits from a health and well-being perspective. Our health is our wealth and our youth is our future.
Michael O’Sullivan & Norma Moriarty