SHOUTOUT VOLUNTEERS DELIVER LGBTQ+ EDUCATION TO 12,000 YOUNG PEOPLE
In the past school year, ShoutOut volunteers have delivered more than 400 workshops in LGBTQ+ awareness and inclusion to 12,000 young people in schools and youth groups around Ireland. Seeking to make up for the lack of LGBTQ+ education in the Irish curriculum and to address the issue of homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies volunteer with ShoutOut to spread a message of acceptance and empathy.
ShoutOut’s school workshops challenge students to consider the difficulties their LGBTQ+ peers still face in the classroom. Volunteers begin each workshop by explaining how they came to terms with their own identity, and their experiences of being LGBTQ+ in an Irish secondary school. Students then take part in a series of exercises designed to educate them on the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ identity, and to prepare them to support their classmates who may be struggling. Many have a perception that Ireland became a fully equal country following the 2015 marriage equality referendum, but as recently as 2018, 77% of LGBTQ+ young people reported coming out at school as their main source of anxiety.
ShoutOut’s annual report, released today, details the number of workshops delivered and the organisation’s operations in full from July 2018 - July 2019. Working with just one part-time staff member, the Dublin-based charity has had a national impact in those 12 months, with 70% of workshops delivered outside the capital, including 126 workshops delivered in the North of Ireland by their partner Cara-Friend. In addition to working in schools, ShoutOut delivers in-depth training to teachers, social workers, youth workers, parents, and guardians to ensure these key figures are adequately prepared to support the LGBTQ+ young people in their care.
“I have been a volunteer with ShoutOut for almost 4 years now and can confidently say I have thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. I know how scarce information regarding the lives of LGBTQ+ people in [Irish secondary schools] can be… Simply being there as a proud gay person can be a lifeline in itself.” - Ross Hunter, ShoutOut volunteer
As an organisation, ShoutOut has grown significantly since launching as a pilot programme in 10 Dublin schools in 2012, and as of July 2019 has added a second staff member to the team in a bid to increase and diversify operations to better serve LGBTQ+ young people in Ireland. However, volunteers will always be at the heart of the charity, and it draws strength in the diversity of its volunteer force in representing the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ experience. If you’d like to make a difference for young people in Irish secondary schools, you can get involved. The next ShoutOut volunteer training will take place in Dublin’s Central Hotel on September 16th at 18.30, followed by training in Cork Gay Project on September 18th at 18.30.
“There is nothing small about ShoutOut. In the past 12 months alone we delivered more than 400 workshops. 67 active volunteers made this happen. We reached 98 schools, trained over 500 youth workers and spread a message of acceptance and inclusion to 12,000 students, all in the past year.” - Bella FitzPatrick, Executive Director