SVP Youth NI Annual Conference

Friday February 13th 2015

Many thanks to SVP Youth NI for inviting Michaela Foundation to their Annual Youth Conference on Wednesday 11th February in Tullyglass House, Ballymena.


‘Positivity and hope’ was the theme of the day when more than 300 students from almost 20 schools across Northern Ireland converged to celebrate and showcase projects they had completed in 2014 as part of the St Vincent de Paul (SVP) Youth programme. It was an honour for Michaela Foundation to be part of such a special day.


SVP is a cross-community charitable organisation helping families and individuals in need across Northern Ireland while the youth wing of the charity works with schools and groups to help develop social awareness as young people develop into adults.  This ethos was emphasised by guest speaker at the event, John McAreavey Director of Michaela Foundation, who told pupils about the importance of volunteering and contributing positively to their community.


“Volunteering is not just about giving but is a win-win situation for young people,” he said. “It can help them to
develop very important skills such as increasing self-confidence and developing integrity. This can be really beneficial when it comes to going to university and starting a new job as they will find it is much easier to meet people and are more likely to thrive in new situations.  It is also very rewarding – you will never experience the same sense of joy and fulfilment as you do by reaching out and feeling that you are really helping people.”

John 1


He added: “Forming Michaela Foundation has really helped me as it has transformed my life – now I know I am making a difference and I would encourage young people to reach out to charities such as SVP and to get involved in their communities to improve the lives of others.”

The Conference was SVP’s way of thanking the students for their hard work and recognising their effort. It was also a great way for students to meet other like-minded people from different schools and to inspire each other with their various projects.

Claire Morgan, Youth Co-Ordinator for SVP explained: “We hear so many negative stories in the news about young people but this event proves that there are so many inspiring pupils doing great things and who regularly share their time, talents and energy to make a difference in the lives of other people.”


Michaela Foundation is so grateful to dedicated volunteers Aoife and Caoimhe for being such brilliant ambassadors at the conference. They spoke with interested students about the work of Michaela Foundation and the volunteering opportunities as well as encouraging the students to have a bit of fun at the Michaela Foundation stall in the hope of winning an exclusive jersey!


It was an honour for the Michaela Foundation Team to meet so many inspirational young people at the event, many of whom expressed an interest in volunteering at Camp this summer. Fingers crossed, our paths will cross again with many of these awesome students during the summer!