Youth Advisory Panel News

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Our Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) have held their monthly YAP meetings, worked with Jigsaw services, supported us in recruitment and attended as audience members of RTE’s Frontline current affairs programme. As we kick off our 2013 plans, we would like to say a huge welcome to all the new members of our YAP from all over the country. 

Everyone in Headstrong, and the Youth Advisory Panel would like to express a heartfelt thank you to Tim Smyth who has moved on from our Youth Advisory Panel. Tim has been part of our Youth Advisory Panel since Headstrong began in 2006. We really wish him all the best on his new adventure in Brazil. 

Hear me, see me

YAP took part in an amazing programme called Hear Me, See Me in November 2012. The group chose to focus on music as the theme. The weekend was really to explore the group’s creativity and explore how they can use music and the arts in their work with us, and also in their own lives.

It also served as another great bonding exercise for new members. A huge thank you to Wally O’Loughlin, Stewart Quinn and Anne Marie Kelly from Hear Me, See Me for all their support and guidance over the weekend. If you would like to find out more about Hear Me, See Me, you can contact Anne Marie Kelly on

Speaking about the event YAP member Ruth Baker said “I found it cool to see how people can express so much through music as I had never done anything like that before. I can see how people use it as a positive outlet for their worries and emotions.” Darren Scully, another member of our YAP said “for me, I see lyrics as a way or a new way to express how someone feels”.

Here are the lyrics of the song the youth advisory panel wrote together:

My friend he just won’t let me in,
Doesn’t know how or where to begin,
To tell the story of his life.
Laying there unhappy day by day,
Everything seems so down seems, so grey,
Day darkens into night.
My friend is always doing time,
Seems like he is always living lies.
Talk to me,
I swear I won’t walk away,
Just talk to me,
I know you’ve got a lot to say.
Verse 2
My friend dunno she’s not to blame,
She’s got no need to live in shame,
Always repeating her mistakes.
Her inability to trust,
Means her relations build up rust,
It’s her decision to make.
She spends so much time living in self doubt,
Sometimes she feels there’s no way out.
Talk to me,
I swear I won’t walk away,
Just talk to me,
I know you’ve got a lot to say.
Verse 3 Rap:
Seems like the same day,
Coming around
Sitting underground,
This big dark cloud.
I got no one I can talk to
No one that will care,
No one that will listen
To what I have to share.
Everyday I sit, reminisce,
When I used to have money,
And I used to have have Trish,
I wish
I could turn back time,
Cause I miss all the things,
That made me smile.
I got to keep on going,
And I got to stay strong
Keep on knowing, that lifes too short,
Keep on knowing, that I belong
Keep on knowing that this is my song.
Verse 4
I don’t know who I really am
Not sure if I really can,
Not sure if I ever will,
Been wearing all these different masks.
No one will ever know if no one asks,
And still I’m coming up with nil.
Thought their voice was more important
No matter what they said
Didn’t get that’s what I needed
Was for me to be my friend
Talk to me,
I swear I won’t walk away,
Just talk to me,
I know you’ve got a lot to say.
Talk to me,
I swear I won’t walk away
Walk with me,
And together we can take away this pain.


Being Young and Irish yap at being young and irish

Pictured: YAP members Cliodhna, Daire and Aoife at the Cork session of the President Higgins Being Young and Irish initiative. Several members of the YAP were participants in Cork, Galway, Monaghan and Dublin workshops where President Higgins met with young people to get their thoughts on being young in Ireland now and discussed their hopes and solutions for Ireland’s future. As you can see from the pictures ‘A Jigsaw in Every County’ is a top priority for this group. For more information about Being Young and Irish visit


One Young World summit in US

Irish delegates Marie and Darren at One Young World

In October 2012 one of our YAP members Darren Scully was chosen to attend the One Young World Summit in Pittsburgh, USA. Here he reflects on his trip and shares some of the highlights he had.

One Young World is a London-based charity that gathers young people around the globe to make lasting connections and create positive change. I got to meet so many different people from different countries and I found it really helped me to think and learn. These were people just like me, hoping to make a difference in their community. I never thought I would have the opportunity to be one of those people.”

“The conference wasn’t like a normal one with structure and lectures; instead there were topics that we thrashed around. The speakers would interact with us in the audience so it never felt like ‘a talk and where we are the listeners’. The sessions included health, leadership, governance, food security, human rights and so much more. My favourite one was a piece on health and food security. We spoke for ages about physical health and obesity. This is something I’m really interested in because I am studying Leisure Management in DIT.

“There were so many cool speakers but the ones that really stood out for me, were Jamie Oliver, Bob Geldof and Mohammad Yunus, the social entrepreneur who set up the Grameen Bank in India.

“I met so many new people on the trip and I have stayed in touch with them. In fact, the Irish delegation are meeting up at the beginning of March and we will be opening up some of the meeting for people to hear about our trip and find out more about One Young World so I am looking forward to that.”