Two remarkable Donegal teens celebrated in international exhibition

first_imgAnthony Foy and Ruby McCandless are two young Donegal people who have overcome the odds to become role models in their communities.And their strength in the face of obstacles has proven that positive outcomes can arise from life’s biggest challenges.Anthony (19), is a mental health campaigner from Letterkenny, and Ruby (13), is helping to create inclusive activities for teenagers with disabilities in her native Carndonagh. The two amazing teens are among the 20 Irish people chosen to feature in ‘Facing Change’, a video and portrait exhibition which celebrates inspiring people across Ireland who have been supported to overcome challenges and lead a life of their own choosing in the community.Anthony and Ruby’s portraits will be on display at Donegal County Museum when the exhibition comes to Letterkenny from 4th to 19th October. Afterwards, it will visit Galway and Brussels throughout the rest of 2019 and early 2020.Facing Change Ruby McCandless on the family farm in Co Donegal – Photograph Ruth MedjberRuby was pictured smiling in her favourite place: the cowshed at her home farm. The Inishowen girl has lived with cerebral palsy all her life and requires 24/7 support. She has a wicked sense of humour, loves listening to music, hanging out with her friends and her most important possession is her phone. She also enjoys helping her Dad and her Uncle out on the farm. Ruby has a lot of friends at mainstream school, but her access to activities outside of school is very restricted. The local social enterprise Spraoi agus Spórt changed Ruby’s life. Through the group, she joined a social club for children with disabilities, which has also greatly benefitted her parents Chrissy and Alan.Ruby is currently working with Spraoi agus Spórt to develop a programme for teenagers with disabilities and is helping staff to identify and develop appropriate activities.Chrissie McCandless said that Spraoi agus Spórt opened up a whole new world for Ruby: “She has developed strong friendships in the community and gained independence, as she now goes on the bus without her mam and dad. 10 years ago, these types of support would never have been available in this part of Donegal. As a family we no longer feel alone and have a strong network of support.”Facing Change portrait of Anthony Foy at Glenveagh National Park – Photograph Ruth MedjberAnthony Foy’s portrait was captured in Glenveigh National Park. A typical teen who loves soccer, rap and tattoos, he has also experienced mental health difficulties since his early teens. He struggled in school and spent some time in a mental health unit in a Galway hospital.He eventually connected with local youth mental health services and this has helped him build his confidence and community connections.  Anthony is passionate about encouraging people to talk about mental health and wants to use his experience to help others. Now, he is a member of the HSE’s youth-led mental health strategy for Donegal. He is also being supported by the HSE to train in peer mentoring so that he can help other young people going through similar experiences.Speaking about his experience participating in the exhibition, Anthony Foy said; “I really want people to know it’s okay not to be okay. I’m putting myself out there, my mental health out there for everybody to know about it, so that other young people can feel okay about it too. Now I’m sitting at the table with the HSE helping to design mental health services for young people in Donegal.”‘Facing Change’ marks 10 years of collaboration between Government and Genio, to help bring about positive and lasting change in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people.To date, projects to the value of €3.6m have been funded through Genio in the Donegal and surrounding north-west healthcare area (contributed to by the Department of Health; the HSE and the Atlantic Philanthropies).  The Facing Change exhibition will run from 4th – 19th of October at Donegal County Museum, Letterkenny and coincides with Donegal Social Inclusion Week. Admission is free.Two remarkable Donegal teens celebrated in international exhibition was last modified: September 26th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:facing changeportraitslast_img

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