The Shona Project visits Scoil Pól

The Shona Project visits Scoil Pól

Many thanks to Tammy Darcy from The Shona Foundation for facilitating a workshop on "Building self-esteem, building resilience and developing relationships" with our 2nd Year students on Tuesday 21st February. It was exceptionally informative and thoroughly enjoyed by all of our students!
Below is an email from the Shona Foundation sent as a follow up email today and is addressed to parents.

Dear Parents,

Yesterday we carried out a workshop with the young people in Scoil Pól, and we hope that through our unique, honest and open approach, we have lit a spark of change. We know through listening to these incredible students, that they need support to face the challenges that today’s society places on them, and working with you, together we can help deliver that support.
My name is Tammy Darcy, and I am the Founder and CEO of The Shona Project ( and we work to nurture the self-esteem of young people, while educating, empowering and inspiring them to embrace their abilities.
As we are all aware, teenagers in Ireland face a specific set of challenges including the societal pressure to look perfect, which leads to low self-esteem, mental health issues and often results in their potential not being realised. 1-3 young people in Ireland struggle with anxiety or depression.
Our workshop is focused on ensuring Irish teenagers have the skills, tools and self-esteem they need to achieve their potential. During the hour and a half, I spent getting to know your child, we worked on the following:

  • Influence: The people we surround ourselves with and how they influence how we feel about ourselves and the young person we become, being in tune with our values, and holding them firm, even when trying to fit in.

  • Kindness: When we don’t know how to channel sadness, anger or frustration in a positive way, that’s when we take it out on others.

  • Mindset: It’s not what happens to us that defines us, it’s how we respond to it. We’ve spoken a lot about resilience and responsibility today, and we’ve all set goals for ourselves that we can work towards. Ask your child to explain the E+R=O equation to you, you might find it useful!

We work on breaking down barriers and believe through early intervention we can avoid the possible downhill spiral many young teens in Ireland unfortunately face. But we only have a short time with them, so your role as the parent/guardian cannot be underestimated and you can and should continue these conversations with your child once they come home from school.

We understand it is hard to find the right words to start these conversations, and a part of our goal here at The Shona Project is to create an eco-system for the young people of Ireland to thrive. So, we wanted to give you some tips and talking points to encourage positive and healthy conversations. 
Tip 1: Don’t say you need a chat. This will heighten their insecurity and anxiety. Just ask them how their day went, or how they feel about a certain topic. Avoid the sneak attack.
Tip 2: Eye contact can be difficult when having important or deep conversations. Why not go for a drive or a walk? This way, you are beside your child, rather than face to face.

Tip 3: Kids don’t need you to solve all their problems. If you do, they will never know what they are capable of. As parents, our number one goal is to listen, and to validate how they’re feeling. When young people struggle, they feel like it’s their failure. Use terms like “that is tough”, “I hear you”, “This is not a normal situation, be gentle with yourself while you work through it.” Work together to come up with solutions, but always hear them first.
We hope that these ideas and tips are useful and may have helped you and your child with additional tools to encourage positive conversations and communication. We share the goal of wanting them to grow into a strong, resilient and confident young person.

Tammy has also recently published a book that you might like to stock in your library. You've Got This! is a positive and empowering guide designed to help girls find their place in the world and grab life with both hands. Full of practical information on handling the challenges of the teenage years with a healthy mindset, it covers topics like finding your friendship tribe, handling peer pressure, healthy body image, periods, love, sex and relationships, exam pressure and navigating the online world. You've Got This! is a supportive companion that will boost self-esteem, inspire positive thinking and build resilience while encouraging you to see the amazing potential in yourself. You can purchase this book on our website for €15.95 via this link ->
We are currently developing tools and workshops for parents, carers, coaches, and teachers – if you are interested in learning more about our work, the SHINE Festival, our future projects, how we might help you and your child, or indeed how you might support us, why not visit our website or social media channels to continue the conversation or sign up to our newsletter here ( to stay up to date with all things Shona while we also share our recommendations for books, music, podcasts, TV shows, movies, self-care items, and everything in between.
“It’s important for young people to feel like they matter, that their opinions matter, that their achievements matter - the Shona Project gives young people that platform to equality, positive representation and making their voices heard” - Katie, Youth Ambassador for The Shona Project
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Tammy Darcy the founder of the Shona Foundation with our Shona ambassadors- Heather Hove and Nicola Hennessy. Our third Shona ambassador is Eva Duggan (not in photo)