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Tony Griffin and Karl Swan

Soar

Alumni 2012

Soar
George Boyle

Soar equips young people with inspiration and critical life skills, with a focus on prevention, that empower and ignite action. Soar creates and delivers innovative programmes for young people within a safe and supportive environment.

The Challenge

Recent challenges in Ireland have left many young people with a lack of hope and inspiration to take action and achieve their full potential. With parents facing increased pressures and rising social isolation the focus in Ireland has shifted to simply ‘surviving’ through the difficult times. However, teenagers are not immune to the challenges of our economy and the failure of our major institutions in recent years.

Worryingly, recent research has shown that 75% of serious mental health difficulties first emerge between the ages of 15 and 25. There is currently only limited life skills and emotional awareness education in the national education curriculum.

The Idea

Inspired by the work of ‘Reach’ in Australia, which has been running youth outreach programmes for the last 17 years, Soar was founded by former Clare hurler Tony Griffin and Karl Swan. Soar equips young people with inspiration and critical life skills, with a focus on prevention, that empower and ignite action.

Soar creates and delivers innovative programmes for young people within a safe and supportive environment. It works inside and outside the education system with young people aged 10-18 delivering workshops that focus on developing confidence, self-esteem and resiliency. Soar invests in young people by equipping them with positive life skills to fulfil their potential. Soar is for all young people regardless of their background and acts as an early intervention initiative.

The Impact

Since being formed less than a year ago, Soar has already worked with 700 students all over Ireland. In addition to their schools programmes, they have brought the first four Irish teenagers to a youth self-development camp in Nova Scotia, Canada called ‘Camp Catapult’ and will run their first out of school programme known as ‘Heroes Days’ in January 2013. Following very positive responses from Irish schools so far, Soar aims to reach over 16,000 Irish teenagers by the end of 2014, and build a model of early intervention youth mental health support that can be expanded and adopted internationally.

Soar programmes really help to open your eyes to things that are usually not spoken about.

Roisin, 15

Tony Griffin and Karl Swan, Impact Award, 2012

Karl Swan (left) and Tony Griffin (right) Karl Swan (left) and Tony Griffin (right)


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