“I was born with muscular dystrophy so I have mobility issues.
In my teen years, I struggled with depression, mental health and a feeling that everything around me was changing. I did not want to accept my disability because I felt the world was not inclusive enough for me to be who I am.
In third year at school, I got some emergency counselling and it really helped me. It made me want to show young people that it is okay to show yourself and be who you are. I sent the National Youth Council of Ireland an email and told them I wanted to get involved.
Since then, I’ve been part of an NCYI campaign called Hear My Truth, which is about helping young people from diverse and marginalised backgrounds to understand each other, share our stories and be allies.
It has changed so much for me. I meet like-minded people, even though we’re all different, and I have learned so much from them. Life is good: it can be hard to get by, but I have plans for my future.
I’ve volunteered with the Irish Wheelchair Association I’ve worked in a finance role and I am starting a course in media and broadcasting at Ballyfermot College of Further Education. I hope to go onto DCU after that. I want people to hear that youth work changes lives and I would encourage other young people to get involved.”
Youth services need to be properly funded – they are life-changing for thousands of young people like Conor. Will you add your name to this petition for more investment in youth work in Budget 23?