Clare Gilmore, from Kircubbin, was recently appointed as Youth Development Officer for St Vincent de Paul in Northern Ireland (SVP). She is passionate about the work of the Society and inspiring young people to get involved in bettering their local communities.
Clare explains: “Young people are instrumental in making change happen and it is through them that the future can be better; I love working with them and their enthusiasm energises me!”
“I studied theology and ministry at university and have been a school chaplain, school retreat leader, as well as working for the diocese. I have been a volunteer with SVP for many years, and when the role of Youth Development Officer came up, I felt that it would be a perfect fit for me, marrying together my faith, passion and skills.
“I want to spread the word about Young SVP as far and as wide as possible and to try to get as many young people involved across schools. I hope to link many of the active SVP youth groups in local schools with adult SVP conferences so that they are acutely aware of the specific needs in their local areas. We have found, historically, that many young people who are engaged in school social justice projects on behalf of Young SVP often go on to volunteer for the Society in adult life.
“As we are entering exam season, I am introducing myself to schools and raising awareness of the work of Young SVP. We will be organising a major youth day in September and I hope that many of the schools we are engaged with will come along. SVP have run this event in the past and it has been a very successful, enlightening day; both for the young people and for our teams and volunteers. Ideas and inspiration that come from the pupils is second to none and this can plant seeds of passion which come to fruition over time.”
Clare, who describes herself as ‘easy-going, fun and reliable’, is looking forward to the challenge of watering these seeds, and nurturing the next generation of SVP volunteers.
She adds: “I stay motivated by prayer and am always myself, which I think young people appreciate. Young people are innately attuned to situations of injustice, and desire to make a difference when they see injustice occur. SVP can help them to understand social justice and empower them to explore different perspectives, and ways in which they can take positive action to address the imbalances in their communities.
“Young people dream big and it is very much my role to encourage that as I believe it is this creative power which will improve the lives of others in the future.”
In her spare time Clare enjoys salsa dancing, watching films and socialising with friends. She concludes: “My role keeps me busy and is not always 9-5 but when I am not working, I relax and hope one day to fulfill my ambition of learning Biblical Hebrew.”
Any school wishing to learn more about Young SVP can contact Clare on 028 9035 1561 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.