A pioneering toolkit to help women develop freely to their best potential has been launched by Clare Youth Service with the assistance of Clare Ladies Cycling Club.
The Youth Identity Project challenges and empowers young women to explore who they are and to reflect on where their sense of identity comes from.
The resource has been developed with young people from pilot groups across the county, Youth Workers and the Clare Youth Service Younger Voices group.
Jean O’Keeffe, Youth Work Manager with CYS said: “We are delighted to launch this initiative. The involvement of young people in the development of the programme from concept to final production is a unique feature. As the pack is for young people, we are thrilled that it has been developed by them, ensuring it will meet the needs of young women today.
Younger Voices, a sub group of the Clare Youth Service board, identified concerns about the modern pressures on girls and young people to behave and dress in a certain manner, to look a certain way, to judge and to be judged on the choices they make. Out of these discussions came the idea for the programme or space for girls and young women to take time out and think about who they want to be, to make informed choices and be clear and confident in their sense of self.
Following six months of research and consultation by Caroline Stott of Clare Youth Service, three pilot groups of young people in Lisdoonvarna, Ennis and Ennistymon met to create and test a programme that is user-friendly, non-judgemental and most importantly, relevant for girls and young women.
Feedback from the pilot groups was very positive – “Taking part in the Youth Identity Project has helped me understand things about myself and become more confident. Before the programme my appearance was the most important thing to me in terms of my identity, now it’s my values, beliefs – stuff on the inside. It’s been very eye- opening and anyone who is a girl should get the chance to do it”.
The programme is delivered over 8 weekly sessions for young women 16-17 years.
Jean O Keeffe commented that “the work involved in researching, designing and developing this resource would not have been possible without Clare Ladies Cycling Club and the support of the CYS Friends and Patrons.”