This month's newsletter includes tributes to two late members of the Board of GROW in Ireland, details of upcoming fundraisers and focuses on Step 2 of the GROW Program - "We Took Our Courage in Our Hands and Asked for Help". It also includes other GROW news and events. 
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February 2017 GROW in Ireland Newsletter

Deep Sorrow at the Passing of Amy

It is with the deepest sadness that we learnt of the sudden passing of Amy Lalor, a valued and much loved member of the GROW Southern Region on Friday last, January 27th.

Since Amy came to GROW over eight years ago, she was a key member of the GROW Community and was an integral part of the Southern Regional Team and one of the youngest serving members of the GROW National Team

Her contribution in helping to set up and support the Young Adult Wilton Group in Cork was invaluable and Amy touched the lives of all of us lucky enough to have come into contact with her. 

She exemplified what it was to be a truly inspirational GROW Leader and was so giving of her time, support and infinite wisdom, that belied her young years. After battling a serious illness over the past six months, Amy’s death has left us all in shock and grieving her loss. 

Her funeral was held in Balally Church, Sandyford, Dublin 16 on Tuesday evening last, January 31st. 
May She Rest in Peace.

A full tribute to Amy will feature in the March edition of the GROW newsletter.

Student Bag-Pack at Dunnes Stores, Cornelscourt in aid of GROW

Transition Year students from St. Andrew's College in Booterstown in Dublin will help to promote GROW's message of positive mental health by undertaking a fundraising bag-pack in Dunnes Stores flagship store, Cornelscourt.

The bag-pack in aid of GROW is the brainchild of St. Andrew's student Lucy Kerrigan, who proposed the idea of the fundraiser. The bag-pack will take place this Friday, February 3rd from 11am to 6pm. The fundraising event will be supervised by GROW Area Coordinators Leo Pattison and Izabela Morris and staff from St. Andrew's

GROW's Eastern Regional Team, staff and management would like to sincerely thank Lucy, the students and staff of St. Andrew's College for their very generous support of GROW.

See also the GROW website

Carrigtwohill United's Generous Donation to GROW

Heartfelt thanks goes to to Carrigtwohill United AFC in Co. Cork for their very recent donation to GROW.
Representatives from the club presented a cheque for €550, raised during the club’s end-of-year charity matches, to GROW Area Coordinator, Finola O’Callaghan at a ceremony at Carrigtwohill Family Resource Centre on January 12th.
The money was raised when Carrigtwohill’s A and B teams hosted Knockraha and St John Bosco’s to play two games in Carrigtwohill’s all-weather grounds. All players and supporters were asked to make a donation towards GROW.
For more details, see the GROW website and also coverage in the East Cork Journal.

Sadness at Death of Former GROW Board Member, Michael

The GROW community in the Western region and across the country was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Michael Kilgannon, a former member of the Board of GROW in Ireland.

Large numbers attended Michael’s funeral which place took place on January 22nd at Ballymacward in Co. Galway, in a fitting tribute to a man who was so actively involved in the community and also served as a county councillor.

Michael was first elected to Galway County Council in 1974 and was re-elected in 1979, serving until 1985. A well-known community activist, Michael was a former school principal whose excellence in Irish saw him partake in many interviews 'as Gaeilge' where he promoted GROW, positive mental health and recovery, including featuring on Raidió na Gaeltachta and Galway Bay FM.

Michael served as a member of the Board of GROW in Ireland for many years, continuing until September 2015. He also served as GROW’s National Chairman for a time during the 1990s and was a former GROW Group Organiser in Ballinasloe.

A great advocate of GROW, Michael was a very compassionate man who would go to great lengths to help others. He was a very good friend of the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, and his wife Sabina.

Along with Miko Browne, Michael was integrally involved in setting up GROW in Ballina nearly three decades ago and was also involved in establishing GROW in Galway.

GROW would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Michael’s wife, family, relatives and friends on his passing.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis 

Pictured are the late Michael Kilgannon with President Michael D. Higgins and his wife, Sabina Higgins at GROW's 2013 Conference in Trinity College Dublin.

GROW Area Coordinator Delivering NOSP Workshops

The National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) is involved in a range of training initiatives around suicide prevention and mental health promotion, with GROW Area Coordinator Assumpta Lyons currently delivering workshops on behalf of the NOSP in the Midlands Region

Assumpta was invited by the NOSP to train as a trainer and since November has been delivering one-day workshops to caregivers including those involved in the teaching profession, healthcare workers, community workers, Gardai, youth workers etc.  

Assumpta will be delivering four workshops yearly across counties Offaly, Longford, Westmeath and Laois.

North East Region New Year Social Event

GROW's North East region will hold a New Year get-together for GROW members on Friday, February 3rd in the Ardboyne Hotel, Navan

The event will include a four course meal, entertainment and a chance to meet with people from other groups around the region.

Challenging ourselves, reaching out to others, fostering a sense of community, building social connection and carrying GROW's message of positive mental health and recovery to others in need are important elements of the GROW Program.

See also the GROW website

Students Undertake Fundraising Walk for GROW

The students and staff of St. Mary’s C.B.S., Borris Road, Portlaoise will promote positive mental health by undertaking a sponsored walk for GROW.
On Friday, March 10th, the students will take part in a sponsored walk to Slievenamon, with fundraising taking place on the week of March 6th – 10th.
GROW Midland Region would like to sincerely thank the students and staff of St. Mary's C.B.S. for undertaking this fundraiser for the region and hope they all enjoy the event.
See also the GROW website

GROW Southern Region Annual Dinner

The GROW Southern Region met on Friday night, January 27th, for their annual dinner, the first social event of 2017. 

The dinner took place in the lovely surroundings of the Elm Tree Restaurant, Glounthane, with all enjoying a superb four-course meal as well as the opportunity to catch up with friends, both recent and long-term.

As the newly appointed Chairman of the Southern Region, Diarmuid Cronin paid tribute to all the GROW members, staff and Regional Team members and looked forward to an exciting year ahead.

Michael Manning was honoured for his 40 years in GROW, the many years he served as Area Coordinator in the Southern Region and now in his current role on the Regional and Program Teams.

Jerry Cronin, Area Coordinator in the Kerry region, was awarded his certificate for his successful completion of the Leadership Course, which he says has helped him enormously in his role and understanding of GROW. 

Also in attendance were James Quilligan, Regional Manager and Christine Fitzgerald, National Program Coordinator, who travelled from Limerick to join in the festivities.

Another successful evening was enjoyed by all, and many thanks to Treasa Twomey and Brenda Beausang for their role in organising the event.

Photograped are Jerry Cronin, Area Coordinator Kerry Region, being presented with his certificate on successful completion of the Leadership Course by Southern Regional Chairman, Diarmuid Cronin and National Program Coodinator Christine Fitzgerald.

See also the GROW website

North West Christmas Gathering and Farewell Party for Noeleen 

It was with regret that GROW said goodbye to Noeleen Clancy Kelly, who had worked as an Area Coordinator in the North West for the last nine years.
It was a lovely evening, with Noeleen’s husband, Con, marking the occasion with a song.
During her time with GROW, Noeleen undertook a degree in counselling, from which we have all benefited. She often spoke about what she had learned at our Regional Weekends and training days. 
Noeleen will be working as an addiction counsellor at several prisons across Ireland and the Prison Service will most certainly benefit from her expertise, wisdom and guidance.
We all extend our warmest wishes to Noeleen and wish her every success in the future.

Thank you to Michael for kindly submitting this piece.

Eastern Regional Weekend to be held in Glendalough

The beautiful surroundings of Glendalough will provide the backdrop for the upcoming Eastern Regional Weekend, which will take place from June 30th to July 2nd.

The weekend will build on the success of previous years and will once again feature an array of inspirational, educational and thought-provoking speakers. The event will be hosted at the Glendalough Hotel

During the weekend, GROWers will also get the opportunity to enjoy the stunning scenery including walks around the monastic sites, the superb 'Wicklow Way' and Glendalough National Park. 

See also the GROW website

'We Took our Courage in our Hands and Asked for Help"

This piece on Step 2 of the GROW Program - 'We Took our Courage in our Hands and Asked for Help' has been submitted from Cork. 

No man is an island. Isolation is one of the principal factors leading to mental health issues, whether it be withdrawing due to fear, loneliness, rejection, anxiety. 

Acknowledging that one has a problem is important. The next step is to seek outside help. Quite often a person has to come to rock bottom before they seek help.
Who to turn to?
Being isolated, maybe they don’t have a friend, so a GP, a spiritual guide, a confessor, or a counsellor. This is where GROW also comes in.  

GROW provides a safe place where such help is available - “Mental health can’t be taught. It has to be learned together”. It provides a network of friends and gradually the person is drawn back into society. Life would be unthinkable without friends and what the person with mental health issues needs most is contact with other healthy minds. 

A FURTHER PIECE ON STEP 2 OF THE GROW PROGRAM - 'We Took our Courage in our Hands and Asked for Help' has also been submitted from Cork.

The key points to keep in mind are Truth, Character and Friendship. Being truthful and honest with oneself in facing one's feelings can have a positive impact on your life. Friendship in GROW or with a person you can trust or a counsellor will help you to deal with your difficulties. 

To read more of both pieces, visit the GROW website

GROW Among Organisations to Participate at Student Congress in UL

GROW was among the organisations who participated in a hugely successful Cycle Against Suicide Student Leaders’ Congress held at the University of Limerick.

Almost 6,000 secondary schools gathered on January 18th and 19th for the event, which was held outside Dublin for the first time and featured speakers from support organisations as well as sports stars, musicians, politicians and celebrities.

The focus of the two-day was on sharing ideas and insights and opening up the discussion about mental health and wellbeing. The event’s Twitter hashtag #ShareTheJourney17 trended as #1 in Ireland during the Congress. The event featured informational talks, inspirational stories and music, including performances by The Strypes and the High Hopes Choir.
Huge thanks are extended to the Cycle Against Suicide Mental Health Coordinator, Lorraine Cavanagh, for inviting GROW to be among the organisations present. Lorraine also volunteers with the Samaritans in Limerick with whom GROW has a very good working relationship.
GROW conducted two participatory exercises for the students in attendance. On Wednesday, we captured some positive mental health tips from the students. E.G. “Have a cup of positivi-TEA” and on Thursday we captured words which came into their heads when the phrase “support group” was mentioned. On both days, GROW got a mention when the MC, DJ Colm Hayes, visited the mental health organisation stands.
GROW also highlighted the Young Adult Book to all those present and encouraged them to download a free PDF copy from the GROW website homepage. There were also plenty of opportunities for networking at the event, with GROW’s stand positioned beside the Samaritans and Teenline.

To read more, visit the GROW website. You can also see more about the event and GROW on the I Love Limerick website 

Youghal Pobalscoil na Trionoida Careers Evening

Pobalscoil na Trionoida, an inter-denominational co-educational post primary school in Youghal, Co. Cork, ran a hugely successful careers evening on January 25th.

Along with leading colleges and universities, local multi-national companies and a wide range of career and educational options, GROW was also invited along as exhibitors to promote the importance of taking care of your mental health and wellbeing. 

GROW Area-Coordinator Finola O’Callaghan was in attendance, talking to the students and their parents about the importance of mental health and maintaining your wellbeing, particularly in the run up to exams.

Pobalscoil na Trionoida caters for the educational needs of the wide diversity of its 900 students.The school prides itself on its commitment to the holistic growth of all pupils and aims to contribute to their spiritual, intellectual, moral, mental and physical wellbeing and development.

Pictured is GROW Area Coordinator Finola O'Callaghan at the careers evening at Pobalscoil na Trionoida.

Also see the GROW website

Mid West and South East Regional Weekends

Dates have been set for this year's GROW Regional Weekends for the Mid West and South East.

The Mid West Regional Weekend will take place on the weekend of April 22nd in Ennistymon, Co. Clare while the South East Regional Weekend will be held in New Ross, Co. Wexford on the weekend of May 12th.
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