Howth-Sutton Transition Year Student Programme 2014

One of the greatest challenges facing the church today, and indeed society as a whole, is the reach out to connect, engage and involve our youth. To do this successfully we have to learn to play on their pitch through mediums and themes which interest them in order to engage them proactively.

It was with this challenge in mind that the Howth Parish Youth Group initiated the TYS programme some seven years ago. Today it has evolved into an established programme embracing both Howth and Sutton Parishes.

The programme is centred around two concepts: personal growth and responsibility, and community project involvement.

Our half day, once a month group sessions focus on well tailored engagements around physical, dietary, spiritual and mental health issues, together with a particular session on career guidance. A challenge for students at one session is a competition between themselves to design a self sustained community that would be multi-cultural in dimension, with a cross section of every socio-economic group in society. The challenge here is to design a community that is built to meet its own identified and agreed values and needs. This year’s results and presentations, which were co-assessed and co-judged by Senator Averil Power, FF Spokesperson on Education, were amazing and certainly gave the mentors an insight into the students’ views of the future.

In the first session we challenged the students to come forward with ideas to improve the appearance and services in and around the peninsula. Their findings were presented by themselves to Independent Councillor Cian O’ Callaghan and to Mr. Tim Fitzgibbon, Operations Manager, Dublin Bus.

Their voices were heard with a clean up to the Welcome to Howth approach at the entrance to Deerpark, and the clean up of the bank in Balkill Park. Significantly as a direct result of their own ideas, a real time display for the bus stop outside the Howth Dart Station has been approved by the National Transport Authority.

An interface with the Community Gardai and the Howth Coast Guard Service are also a part of the programme.

On the community project front, the students proactively engage in a Christmas Party and a Spring Bingo Night with the residents in Kilrock House as well as being an active part of the carol singing at the annual lighting of the Howth Christmas Tree.

This year we have 35 students drawn from five secondary schools participating in the programme with the full and confident support of their school TYS coordinators. Our monthly group sessions take place in the school hall of Scoil Mhuire, Howth with the kind permission and cooperation of the Principal, Mr. John Chambers.  


The TY students are pictured on a recent visit to Howth Castle where they enjoyed an informative tour guided, very kindly, by Julian Gaisford-St. Lawrence.