Rachel Collier – CEO and Co-founder, Young Social Innovators (YSI)

    • Rachel Collier – CEO and Co-founder, Young Social Innovators (YSI)'s presentations

    Rachel Collier is the CEO and Co-founder of Young Social Innovators (YSI), an organisation that empowers young people to change our world through social innovation education.

    Passionate about creativity and innovation from an early age, Rachel was one of the first official Communications graduates in Ireland. She specialised in video production, working as a film editor in Paris for UNESCO before returning to Ireland to work with Sr Stanislaus Kennedy (Sr Stan) to carry out research on homeless women in Dublin.

    Rachel first saw the real power of social innovation when she and Sr Stan set up Focus Point (now Focus Ireland) in Dublin in the 1980’s. The experience of working with young homeless people built the foundation for, and deep understanding of, the ability and creativity of young people to bring about change. Rachel, with Sr Stan’s continued support, established Young Social Innovators as a pilot programme in 2001, creating a national programme, framework and methodology for social innovation education that would engage teenagers in social issues and social service activity.

    Today, YSI harnesses the energy and passion of over 14,000 young people every single year, giving teenagers all over Ireland the tools to thing, design and respond to social issues and challenges. Through YSI, Rachel works with numerous organisations, universities, public bodies, schools and community groups to develop thinking and understanding around social innovation education both here and abroad.



    Title: Social Innovation Education in Ireland

    Synopsis: Social innovation is fundamentally about change; change for the good of people, society and the planet.  It might include changes in how we do things, how we behave, how we collaborate, how we think, how we formulate a system, how we find and build solutions. In fact, how we do innovation, in social innovation, is as important as what we do.

    YSI has pioneered and championed Social Innovation Learning and Practice, or social innovation education, as an important way to empower people to take action on the growing inequality in the world today. It offers youth-led, team-based action programmes to young people. Working in teams, young social innovators are challenged to identify a social issue affecting them or their communities and to come up with creative solutions. Issues such as health, equality, poverty, exclusion, human rights, safety and the environment are tackled.

    Social innovation has become an integral part of the secondary level education of many Irish students, with 14,000 students each year participating in YSI.

    This presentation describes the history, background, processes and significant ripple effect that social innovation education has in Ireland.



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