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Soar — Monthly Updates

Soar’s November Breakdown

November was a brilliant month for Soar for a lot of reasons but the main one being that we worked with the highest number of young people in one month EVER since Soar began! We reached 698 young people through our school workshops. This is a result of our greater capacity with the new Facilitators in Training (FITs) and a growth in awareness of Soar. Here are some other happenings in our world last month.


Hello World! Our new website is up and running.

Our new website is alive and kicking, brilliantly led by our very talented Ciara Quinn. We were lucky to work with the incredible team in Aad design studios to develop the fresh new website. We believe we have delivered a website which reflects the work we do with young people and allows our community to engage fully with all elements of the organisation. We are so proud to be able to direct people to our new online home!

The table quiz event of the year happened and it was awesome!

Our brilliant partner Ecclesiastical absolutely nailed what is turning out to be the highlight of the table quiz calendar! The entire team at ecclesiastical contributed to a brilliant night, which was an even bigger event than last year. The night raised €2,327.40 for Soar. This will be generously matched by Ecclesiastical bringing the total to €4654.80.

Soar hit the Maynooth Campus for our official Launch

Soar officially launched on campus with Maynooth Student’s Union as their cause of choice. It was an incredible day where Soar had an opportunity to meet the amazing students, get to know the campus and speak at lectures. To mark the partnership MSU launched 500 balloons into the sky and Soar held a light-touch workshop with students of the university to introduce them to the work of Soar. It was a real indicator of the amazing collaboration that will take place over the next few months.  

Tony spoke brilliantly at the SEI Awards

Tony represented Soar brilliantly at the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards 2014, held in Christchurch Cathedral. Tony’s invite to appear as a guest speaker was a powerful acknowledgement of the progress made by Soar since Tony and Karl’s ‘Impact Award’ in 2012. Now it’s onto the next stage of Soar serving our young people to the best of our ability. 

Our Facilitators in Training are continuing their training and development

The FITs continue to deliver training sessions on specific aspects of the Soar program to the entire crew. These training sessions were incredibly important for the FITs’ development.

As we move into the last month of the year we're excited to make it a great one to close out a brilliant year at Soar!

Happy Christmas From Soar

We're all wrapped up for 2014 and wanted to wish you a massive Happy Christmas!

We had an amazing year working with incredible young people all over Ireland and are looking forward to an even bigger and better 2015.

We wanted to thank you for all of the amazing support, guidance and love you showed toward Soar and tell you about some of the brilliant things that happened for Soar this year!

Weeeeeeeeee..... wish you a merry Christmas!

Love from all @ Soar x

May Happenings at Soar

Soar worked with approximately 230 young people in May through our early intervention, preventative well-being workshops. Here are some other good things that happened!

Out of Schools Programs
In May we kicked off our Girl’s program brainstorm sessions with fifteen awesome young women. This was the first of ten sessions that will explore different topics around being a teenage girl. The opinions and ideas brought by everyone who attended on the night were so spot on and will shape the content of the program.

Training and Development
We began our wellbeing review sessions with all of our Facilitators in Training (F.I.Ts). Led by our Head of Child Protection and Wellbeing, Babs, it is a check in with all F.I.Ts to ensure their own wellbeing is monitored while doing this emotive work. 

Tony and Mark Travel to Australia 
Tony and Mark travelled to Melbourne on a two week funding, research and development trip. Tony was honoured to speak at The Australia Ireland Funding event organised by a true Soar friend, Sandra Booth. Mark also connected with the members of the amazing social enterprise organisation YGAP, speaking at their monthly volunteer night. A considerable amount of work went into program development. This was enabled by Soar advocate and brother Tom Harkin, who put Tony and Mark through their facilitation paces! 

Huge gratitude to The Reach Foundation who as always opened their doors and welcomed Soar. As well as meeting with core staff within Reach, Tony and Mark attended crew trainings, workshops and large scale events. This trip was largely supported by the wonderful generosity of Soar community in both Ireland and Australia which saved Soar thousands in flight and accommodation costs. Big shout out to Etihad Airways, Seamus and Christina at Emerald Travel, and Tom and Paige Harkin.

32 Young People completed Work Experience in the Soar office during the school year - Sept 2014 / May 2015
As secondary schools closed last month we had our last TY student on work experience for the school year. Throughout the year we have consistently had 1 – 3 young people in the office with us every week. Their presence enables us to stay fully connected with the young people we serve! 

Soar Has Been Approved for Tax Relief on Donations
For the last few months we have been working with the revenue to register Soar so that we are eligible for tax relief on certain donations. Last month we were approved, meaning that donations of €250 or more are potentially worth an additional 44.9% to Soar! 

Soar Board Session
We had a fantastic session where our board came together as a whole and took the learnings from the last 3 years and what has gotten us to this point. It was epic!

CRM in Action
We are up and running with our CRM system! We have worked closely with the brilliant team in Microsoft and M-Hance for the last couple of months, developing, tailoring and training up on our customized version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. We are now fully live on the system. This new addition to our processes will allow us to store contact information and record communication with volunteers, donors and the Soar community far easier than before.

Pass It On Campaign 
Last month we trialled our ‘Pass It On’ postcards. This will be a new funding campaign that will be launched in secondary schools this September. The information postcard splits in two (One for young people / One for parents) and will be left with the young people after a workshop to serve 3 different purposes; 1. Safety/follow up information for young people seeking further supports, 2. Information on Soar and the workshop for parents, 3. Fundraising ideas and a call to action for both young people and parents to join the Soar movement. 


Challenges for Soar
Soar has always operated as a movement and we rely heavily on our community to keep us alive. Like every non for profit, we face new challenges monthly. Here are some of the challenges we’re facing right now that you or someone you know may be able to help us with.

This month we are putting a call out to our community to help us source some technical equipment for our office. If you or someone you know may be able to donate any of the following it would help us greatly.

  1. Colour Printer
  2. Projector
  3. Computer Monitor

If you can assist in sourcing any of these items we’d love if you can email us at and let us know.

June Happenings

In June:
Soar worked with approximately 211 young people in 5 schools in June through our early intervention, preventative, well-being workshops.    

Next Month:
From September 2014 to June 2015 we worked with 5,173 young people. As the school year is now finished our 6th class and TY workshops program will break until September. This will allow us to concentrate fully on operational and organisational advancement as well as program review and development. We’ll also spend a large portion of the summer months training for the upcoming school year.  

Training and Development:
Led by Soar F.I.T, Ronan Conway, we began a complete review of debrief forms from all workshops which took place during this school year. This is an essential process for the training and development of our F.I.Ts. This information will be channelled into a report on workshop learnings for 2014/2015. It will be finished and presented in July. 

Youth Crew Night
Wednesday the 3rd of June was an incredibly special night for Soar as we had our first Youth Crew recruitment event. 30 young people who had experienced a Soar workshop within their schools travelled from all over the country listening to their hearts call and with a desire to inspire other young people as they have been inspired. This group will train for two years with the aim of becoming the next Soar facilitators. The night was awesome, the crew even more awesome!

Second Partner Brainstorm Session
We had our second partner brainstorm session. 9 team members from our partner organisations came together at our offices and thrashed out ideas, suggestions and issues that Soar is facing right now. Our partners came charged with enthusiasm and passion which made it a truly beneficial evening for Soar.

The Soar Office is Officially Warmed
We got together with some of our close community and our neighbours at The Chocolate Factory to warm the space we’ve been lucky to make our own. It was brilliant to catch up with Soar friends old and new! 

Community Programs
As part of our commitment to Maynooth University Student’s Union, we ran a special workshop with a 6th class group in one of the local primary schools in Maynooth. This brought about a closure to a great partnership with Maynooth University S.U in 2014/2015.

Soar Had its AGM
Monday the 15th of June saw Soar hold its AGM where the board and many of Soar’s core staff got together and reaffirmed their commitment to the movement. The AGM saw a change up in members of the Soar board. Diarmuid Lyng, Ruairí McKiernan, Ian Kingston and Bruce Mansour officially stepped down from the board after three years of hard work and will continue to support Soar in different ways. Pat Moran and Cheryll Keeler came on board (excuse the awesome pun!) and will bring lots of their own enthusiasm and drive. 

F.I.Ts Join the Soar Operations Team for the Summer
Four of the six F.I.Ts began working in the Soar office full-time for the summer period. Their roles will focus primarily on workshop content review and development, training analysis and organisational development. This additional support to the Soar Ops team is hugely important and will allow us to return to schools in September with a reinvigorated workshop program that is as current and advanced as possible.

6 Page Funding Doc
We have been working hard on producing a short, snappy take-away to give to potential supporters, funders and anyone who wants to know more about Soar. Led by the great Susan Quirke, we are really proud of what we have created. It is a powerful piece of communication that goes straight to the heart of what Soar is about! Check it out here.

Shout Out
A small shout out to people who helped in a big way….

  • David Lane - Soar supporter and friend David Lane completed an epic cycle from Clonee to Cooraclare and raised an awesome €3,850 for Soar. Huge thanks to him for this amazing contribution.
  • David Gough - Dave Gough is cycling a mammoth 7.000km for Soar. Last month, he kicked off his trip in Alta, Norway and will finish in a few weeks in Malta. Dave is travelling with just his bike, a stove for cooking and a small bag of supplies. It is an incredible challenge and Dave is donating all funds raised to Soar.  You can see how he is getting on here!

How Can You Help Us?
Soar has always operated as a movement and we rely heavily on our community to keep us alive. Like every non for profit, we face new challenges monthly. Here are some of the challenges we’re facing right now that you or someone you know may be able to help us with.

We have a number of events coming up over the next few months. The funds raised at these will support Soar’s ongoing objective of reaching as many young people throughout Ireland as possible. We would love if you can come along and bring some friends to the following events:

1.    Soda Bread Box – A revolutionary dance event in the dark… | 16th of July
2.    Hellfire – A run, walk or cycle from the hellfire club in memory of Jim Stynes | 2nd of August
3.    I am eleven – A private screening of the intriguing and at times hilarious film | 23rd of August
4.    Teenage Kicks – An experiential event that will stretch your comfort zone | 1st of October


If you would like more info on the events above please email!

September 2015 Happenings

Last Month:
We went back to schools last month after a busy and exciting summer. We worked with 482 young people in 7 schools through our early intervention, preventative well-being workshops.    

Next Month:
Next month we are scheduled to work with 643 young people in 8 schools throughout Ireland. 

Community Programs -

Boy’s Program
We put a large focus on furthering our community programs last month. We ran our first Boy’s Program workshop where we gathered together 30 young men from GAA clubs around the country for an experiential night that explored masculinity and the roles associated with men in society. 
Girl’s Program
We are joined by Reach Development Manager, Paige Harkin who will be working with us on a consultancy basis for 2 weeks in October to develop our Girl’s Program. Paige brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Soar and we are so excited to plan the the structure and roll-out of this workshop with young women around Ireland.

Soar secured €10,000 from the ESB Energy for Generations Fund
This grant will assist Soar in the development of a Girls Program, where a safe environment will be created for young women to explore and question gender ideas, expectations and the influence of mass media on their lives.

Soar Ran Our First Corporate Workshop with Bank of Ireland
The workshop was part of a 3 day induction for 100 young adults embarking on BOI’s graduate program. The response to the workshop was awesome leaving the graduates charged and excited about the careers they were stepping into. Check out some of the feedback below.

Our Youth Crew is in Training
Our Youth Crew came together for their first full training session. 30 young people showed up energised, ignited and ready to explore the work Soar does. This crew challenged themselves and took away the learnings from a brilliant evening. In October we’ll run our first ever Youth Crew training Camp Weekend. We cannot WAIT.

F.I.T Team Moves to a Full-time Working Week
After the summer months, the benefits of having our F.I.T team operating on a full-time basis was clear. They added greatly to our operations team and to the analysis and development of our programs. In September, 5 of our 6 F.I.Ts began working in a full-time capacity. The team will have more time to focus on delivering workshops, program development and learning.   

YES Youth Mental Health Fair
We were invited to attend the Youth Empowerment Service Mental Health Fair in St. Patrick’s Hospital. It was a brilliant opportunity for us to meet a lot of the young people who are championing changes in the mental health space. 

October Happenings in Soar

Last Month:
We worked with 623 young people in 8 schools through our early intervention, preventative well-being workshops.    

This Month:
Next month we are booked to work with 1,279 young people in 13 schools throughout Ireland. 

Community Programs

Girl’s Program
Last month we were lucky to spend 5 days with Reach’s Development Manager Paige Harkin. Paige has a wealth of experience in program development and women’s well-being programs. With her assistance, our team designed the program structure, the overall workshop aims and objectives and began the construction of the workshop content. The team have completed 50% of this process.

Community Workshop – Leixlip GAA Club
We ran a bespoke out of school workshop with members of different GAA clubs from Leixlip and the surrounding areas. 

We Ran our first Youth Crew Camp and it was Epic!
Since Soar’s inception we have dreamed of running a weekend crew camp in Ireland. Last month this became a reality. 30 young people, ignited by Soar travelled to Wicklow to explore and challenge themselves and to dive into the work Soar does. This was a special weekend for both the Soar team and the crew as bonds and relationships were created and strengthened. Run by our Facilitators in training, this camp will be the first of many sessions over their 2 year training period

ESB Presented Soar with a €10,000 Energy for Generations grant for our Girl’s program
This funding will go toward research and development of our Girl’s Program. 

Challenges this Month:

October Tests Soar's Metal
October was a difficult month for us from a funding perspective. The unabated increase in demand for Soar's school programs and the growing requests for our community programs meant that our resources were stretched to their max. Added to this, the development of our boys and girls specific out of school programs added to the desire by young people to have a Soar experience. We always said money will never be the reason we don't get to a young person. But this month was a huge challenge for us as an organisation to keep our word. We are PROUD that we did. 
If you'd like to sign up to be a monthly giver to Soar and empower young people's dreams of living great lives then check out 

We kicked off our Monthly Giving Campaign. 
A big focus for us over the last few months has been moving toward a financial model that is supported by different channels and is as sustainable as possible. We launched our monthly giving campaign which asks people to support us by making a monthly direct debit contribution. Many of our community have joined this campaign and we’re hoping many more will sign up in the coming months!

March Happenings

In March: Soar worked with approximately 555 young people in 8 schools through our early intervention, preventative, well-being workshops. While schools closed for the Easter break, we focussed on our out of school programs. In April we are scheduled to work with 11 schools and 773 young people. 

Stripped - We ran our first Girl’s Program pilot session with over 30 young women from our crew and community. Our newly developed Girl’s program titled “Stripped” aims to empower young women to explore and strip back societal and individual expectations and develop a greater sense of self-worth.

Youth Crew Recruitment 2016 - On the 21st of March we met 45 awesome young people who will add to our Youth Crew. This group aged between 15 to18 will join the current members of our Youth Crew on a 2 year training journey. 

Soar on the big screen…  Late last year we were approached by a student filmmaker, Darragh McCann with an idea. Darragh had read about Soar and had been inspired to create a documentary which focused on Soar’s evolution to date and the programs we run. Last month we kicked off the shooting of this documentary. We hope the film will create awareness for Soar and act as an important tool for explaining the wellness work we do in a captivating way. 

Redevelopment of our workshop feedback form - Last month we began a project of reviewing and redeveloping our workshop feedback form. This is a form we circulate to all young people who have experienced a Soar workshop. This review was an important process and allows us to gain a clearer understanding of the impact of our workshops and the strengths and weaknesses of the individual content and media we use within them. 

Join the Movement! If you feel you can support Soar in reaching more young people, join our Monthly Giving Campaign here

April Happenings

In April:
Soar worked with approximately 846 young people in 13 schools through our early intervention, preventative, well-being workshops. 

In May:
We are scheduled to work with 7 schools and 438 young people. 

Community Programs:
In April, we ran pilot workshops for ‘Stripped’, our girl’s program in two secondary schools in Ireland.  This was Soar’s first time running our newly developed workshop within a school setting, with the young women who have been through our original program. It was an epic experience. We took huge learnings from both days and are excited about further developing this program over the summer months.

Training and Development: 
We began a series of personal development training sessions with our Youth Crew. We kicked it off with a session on exploring and defining our values. These trainings with the crew will continue regularly until the end of the year.

Support Database Development
We have been lucky to have a brilliant student from Tallaght I.T join us in our office to support our organisation for the last 12 weeks. In April, Jessie McLoughlin worked incredibly hard on further developing our database of support and care organisations. This work means we are even better placed when providing follow up support to schools and signposting them to the most suitable and relevant care for the young people in their care. We have over 300 support orgs and contacts on this database and it is growing.

Soar Shout Out
We want to give a MASSIVE shout out to Ray O’Neill and Conor O’Neill who undertook the incredible feat of running the Marathon Des Sable. The race is a gruelling multi-stage adventure through the Sahara desert. The rules require you to be self-sufficient, to carry with you on your back everything except water that you need to survive. You are given a place in a tent to sleep at night, but any other equipment and food must be carried. Ray and Conor completed this challenge in aid of Soar and we are truly blown away and utterly grateful.

How You Can Support Soar?
Soar has always operated as a movement and we rely heavily on our community to keep us alive. Like every non for profit, we face new challenges monthly. Here are some of the challenges we’re facing right now that you or someone you know may be able to help us with.

One of the biggest challenges for Soar at the moment is office equipment. Many of our team currently use their personal laptops which are slow and outdated. Over the next 3 months we hope to source 4 – 6 laptops for our team to use on a daily basis. If you feel you can support us with this in any way we would love to hear from you. Email to let us know if you can help!

May Happenings at Soar

In May:
Last month we worked with 438 young people in 8 schools through our early intervention, preventative, well-being workshops. We worked with our final group of TYs for this school year as secondary schools closed for the summer in mid-May. It was an amazing close out to an epic school year with our TY programs!  

In June:
We are scheduled to work with 4 schools and 159 young people. All of these schools will be primary schools.

Community Programs:
Last month we were lucky to have Tom Harkin, former Facilitation trainer at The Reach Foundation with us for 2 weeks. Tom ran an all-day training session with our F.I.Ts and supported a training session with our Youth Crew. He also worked alongside our program team and male F.I.Ts to continue the development of our boy’s program for secondary school groups. Huge strides were made in building out this unique workshop which will run alongside our girl’s program within schools in late 2016 or early 2017. 

Developing Partnerships with Support Organisations
We had a really successful meeting with members of the ISPCC and Pieta House to discuss furthering our connection and partnership with these brilliant orgs.  As we’re not a curative model, it’s important that we create strong ties and relationships with the people who are most able to support any young people we meet who may need additional care. 

The Jim Stynes Memorial Golf Day
On the 6th of May the first Jim Stynes Golf Day was held at The Castle Golf Club in Rathfarnham. The event was organised by the super team of Mick Kearney, Tony Garry, Declan Allen and Pat Moran. It was an incredible day where close to 200 people tee’d off in support of Soar. Later that evening we came together for a dinner and to celebrate the life of Jim Stynes and the legacy he has left behind through his work in Reach and his inspiration for Soar. We are truly grateful to everyone who came along, golfed and supported. It will be a hard event to top!

Train the Trainer in Child Protection Awareness  
Our Head of Child Protection and Well-being, Babs, completed this N.Y.C.I course and will now be delivering all Child Protection Awareness training for the Soar team. This is a huge step and will allow us to train all new crew in-house from now on!

Soar Shout Out
This month we want to say a HUGE shout out to David Lane, Managing Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, Ireland. David hurled himself out of a plane and skydived a whopper 10,000 ft. in aid of Soar. David has been a massive supporter since Soar’s early days and we are so appreciative of his bravery and his commitment to the work we do! His challenge raised close to €5,000 for Soar.

How You Can Support Soar?

Soar has always operated as a movement and we rely heavily on our community to keep us alive. Like every non for profit, we face new challenges monthly. Here are some of the ways you can support this month.

If you have been impacted, intrigued or inspired by Soar over the last few years, we would LOVE you to support us by organising a fundraiser or creating an experience that would allow us to continue reaching more young people. It might be a skydive, a coffee morning, a film screening, a silent disco or anything wild and wonderful you can dream up. If you would be interested in joining the movement email and we will support you at every step of your challenge!  

What We’ve Been Up To…

As we wrap up our last school workshop this year we’re looking back on an incredible 6 months. We met thousands of young people, visited dozens of schools and heard countless inspiring stories about young people’s dreams and challenges. We have now worked in 22 counties throughout the island of Ireland.


# Young People Reached: 2,439

  • Secondary school: 2,002

  • Primary School: 437

# Schools visited: 89

  • Primary School: 17

  • Secondary School: 72

Changes to the Soar Team

Darren Ryan
We are over the moon, beside ourselves and downright delighted that Darren Ryan has become our new Soar Board Chairperson. Darren is currently the Chief Executive of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and since joining our board in 2015, has been an inspirational driving force. We value his guidance immensely and are excited for him to lead us into our next chapter.
Susan McGovern
In January, Soar gained an amazing new team member in the form of Susan McGovern. Susan had been a hugely important Soar Board Member for the last 5 years and has been a consistent grounding force and guide to Soar since its inception. With a background in coaching and people development, Susan will lead our staff and manage the general operations of Soar. Go on Suse!

Soar Programs

Stripped Program
This year saw us begin the roll-out of our young women’s program ‘Stripped’. Stripped is a workshop that aims to inspire young women to strip back all societal barriers and expectations and embrace and acknowledge their own individuality and greatness. We have worked with 178 girls through our program since January and we are just getting started! We cannot wait to get back out in September and meet more young women.
Vice Program
We are currently working on the development of a young men’s program that explores what it means to be a man in society today. Our aim for the program is that it is completely different to what has gone before and challenges the status quo of masculinity and manhood. We are in a research and development phase and hope to roll this out before the end of 2017.

Tamar Stone Put Us Through our Paces with Voice Dialogue Training

Tamar Stone is internationally recognized as a psychotherapist, consultant, consciousness teacher, senior Voice Dialogue facilitator, and the originator of The Body Dialogue Process. In June, Tamar came to Ireland to run a week-long training program with our facilitators and staff. This progressive style of training provides tools for people to acknowledge the many parts of their identity rather than identifying with one aspect of who they are. It was incredibly beneficial and will feed into our workshops and programs from September.

Program Delivery Training

Over the summer we will be working hard on our program delivery model. This is to ensure that by September, we have selected 6 new Youth Facilitators who will begin to run workshops in schools. That means bringing our crew of 40 through an intensive training program and ready to go inspiring other young people.

Soar Partners

Over the past few years, we have been searching for a communications company that gets Soar and wants to passionately tell our story. Last year we encountered Rothco, one of the best and most innovative creative agencies in Ireland. We have admired their work from afar for some time and are so buzzed that we have the opportunity to partner with them. This relationship has the potential to launch us into the next level. Get ready, we’re going global!
One huge advancement for Soar came in the form of financial expertise from KPMG. We are now supported by a team who come to the Soar home once a week and assist us with our day to day accounting and finances. It is a huge help to our small team and allows us to keep our focus on financial best practice and governance.

New Website Launch

For the last few months we have been getting busy with the awesome people at This Greedy Pig to develop a new version of our website. We have thrown out the rule book and created something beautiful, dynamic and simple. We will be launching this in June/July of this year and we are pumped for our community to see it!

Soar Had a Visitor from Oz

We were lucky to have Adsi Daniel spend 2 months with us from February to April of this year. Adsi is a former Reach Foundation Facilitator and brought a huge amount of experience, ideas and energy with him! Adsi ran workshops with TY groups and facilitated 3 training sessions with our team. His visit continued to strengthen our collaboration with Facilitators from all over the world who can teach us and bring a new depth to our skills.

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