Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Me, myself and Spunout.ie

Last night I was part of something good. I attended the tenth birthday party of SpunOut.ie, a wonderful organisation that i've been volunteering with since 2013. SpunOut are a website, a community and a wonderful platform from which you can learn - about yourself, other young people and the world around you. I often wonder who i'd be without SpunOut. The work they do to support and empower young people in Ireland is incredible. They offer advice, the opportunity to engage, information and support t young people (that's 16-25 officially, but i sspect that many people under - and over! - that age use the site) as well as offering deadly experiences to their volunteers. I'm just one of those hundreds of volunteers, and I'm hoping to keep doing that for as long as I can. But I'm getting ahead of myself... 

When I first visited SpunOut at their Women's Academy event, my mind was blown! People were talking about giving young women a voice, hoping getting us into Dail Eireann for crying out loud. We were given books on effective protest, books about lesbians* and, most importantly, a sense that we were being listened to - that our opinions mattered beyond the realm of LiveJournal and Tumblr. It was fairly mindblowing stuff, and there and then I decided that I was going to keep up as much contact with SpunOut as possible. That's where I belonged, I had decided: not in the high-powered world of student journalism or the dusty society rooms, but with a group of people making a difference on a national level.
Fast forward two years and  I'm still as enthused about SpunOut as I was in 2013. They've given me such brilliant experience and I've met some really cool people through it - a special shout-out to the time they put me in a book (!) they published, the SpunOut Srvival Guide to life, which you can have a look at here. I feel like Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. here, but "OH MY GOD....I'M IN A BOOK!". It's something that still gets me giddy over a year later. 

So back to the present day, and SpunOut had, somewhat madly, asked me to speak at their ten year anniversary. I talked about the internet, about my time with SpunOut, and felt more than a little emotional when I closed the ceremony. It was either "very emotive" or "very embarassing", depending on who you ask, the latter being me. 

But you know what? I did it. I stood up in front of 300 people, including a Minister, and I spoke. It was nerve wracking, but you know what? All the work that I've done with SpunOut gave me the confidence to do that. Like circa 2008 Barack Obama, SpunOut say "Yes YOU can" to young people  - I, and so many others, are testament to that. 

SpunOut have a shiny new website here, and a "get involevd!" section here. it's the best thing i''ve done with my time in college, and this is just a big massive THANK YOU to my supporters in their offices, who have motivated and encouraged hundreds of young people beyond comprehension. 

Thanks, guys. And happy birthday 
Aine xx 

*The book was the EXCELLENT"Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel, a graphic novel I'd recommend to anyone and everyone.