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Young SVP reaches out to stressed students

By Ann Marie Foley - 12 May, 2020

Young SVP saw the worry and anxiety among students during the COVID-19 restrictions and decided to produce the video to offer support, encourage them to talk about their anxieties, and tell them that help is on hand.

Young SVP members concerned at the stress levels among their peers have produced a music video with the message that they are not alone.

Participants of the Society of St Vincent de Paul Young SVP programme in the South East of Ireland saw the worry and anxiety among students during the COVID-19 restrictions and decided to produce the video to offer support, encourage them to talk about their anxieties, and tell them that help is on hand.

“These TY (transition year) and fifth year students from schools in Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford were so aware of the impact on mental health (of COVID-19 restrictions) that they agreed without hesitation to sing together on this video,” said Debbie O’Halloran, SVP youth development officer in the South East.

The project was supported by more than 100 Young SVP students who feature in the video with ‘You are not alone’ signs. The words of the song carry a deep message and state:

“Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
And when you’re broken on the ground
You will be found
So let the sun come streaming in
’Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again
Lift your head and look around
You will be found.”

The video, which can be viewed online, includes encouragement for anyone who needs help to call Pieta House or The Samaritans.

Young SVP is a development programme designed for use in school and youth groups. It focuses on social action within the ethos and mission of SVP. Young participants learn about SVP, social justice and how to engage in social action in a positive way. It involves secondary school pupils as well as college students.

SVP national youth development officer, Becca Gallagher, said that the #youarenotalone initiative is a perfect example of the level of concern for others that is engendered in the Young SVP Programme.

There are groups all over Ireland involved in this programme. Just last week, on 7 May, the North East & Midlands Region’s Youth Day was celebrated online with special messages of thanks and congratulations to students and teachers for undertaking the project. Students were presented with a virtual ‘Certificate of Achievement’.

In Carrick-on-Suir, Young SVP also participated virtually in a youth day. During the year they were also involved in a Christmas appeal, worked with people in a direct provision centre, and held a cultural evening.

The ‘You are not alone’ video was edited/produced by Steven O’Halloran from Timeryder Productions who stated that it was an honour to be part of such an important project and message. “Beautiful voices from such beautiful people. Well done to everyone involved,” Timeryder stated, urging people to continue to share it as widely as possible.

The singers on the video include: Eryn Buckley (Our Lady of Lourdes Secondary School New Ross), Jessie Byrne (Presentation Secondary School Wexford), Aaron Smith (Presentation College Carlow), Orla Flynn (Loreto Secondary School Kilkenny), Tyra-Lee Spry (St Paul’s Community College, Waterford), Mia Redmond (Coláiste an Átha, Kilmuckridge), Shauna Barry (St Mary’s Secondary School, New Ross), Jerely Pembele (Presentation Secondary School, Waterford), Lauren Brophy (Ardscoil na Mara, Tramore), Ciara Sheperd (Loreto Secondary School, Kilkenny), Katie Williams (Presentation College Carlow), Kerri Cleary (St Mary’s Secondary School, New Ross) and Debbie O’Halloran (Young SVP).

Music and lyrics were by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The song, ‘You Will Be Found’, comes from a Broadway musical called Dear Evan Hanson, the story of a US teenager with social anxiety issues. Oscar, Grammy, Tony, and Golden Globe Award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are best known for their work on Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land and The Greatest Showman. Upcoming projects include the live-action movie musicals Aladdin and Snow White at Disney, and an original animated musical at Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios.

The Young SVP video can be viewed here.

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