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Michael From Dublin

YEPP has made me more open to foreign nationals in our own communities

My name is Michael Malone. I’m 25 and I was born in Dublin. I got involved in YEPP in 2004 as part of a youth project looking for international contacts. I’ve had the chance to attend YEPP workshops and events in Italy, Belgium, Finland and Poland.

Today, I’m coordinator for the North East Inner City Youth Bank while studying Youth and Community Work at Maynooth University. Our neighbourhood has a large population of young people with high levels of teenage pregnancy, unemployment, early school leaving, and drug and alcohol abuse, and a bad reputation with society and the police. But there’s also a strong community spirit, like street parties during the recent snow.

I feel I belong in the neighbourhood as a lot of people would know me through my voluntary work. With YEPP, I’ve made friends in different countries and become more aware of racism. This has made me more open to foreign nationals in our own communities. I’d like to see more schemes for young people who are unemployed to develop life skills instead of just getting the dole and more peer leadership training so that young people can give back to the community.