Aodhán's Story

Aodhán joined our Headliners Foyle bureau in Derry in early 2020. Here is his story:

"I'm a young journalist currently studying Creative Media Production at North West Regional College Derry/Londonderry. I hope to become fully qualified in journalism in the upcoming years with the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

"I have been attending Headliners Foyle since January 2020. I enjoy participating in their range of projects to develop new skills and further my personal progression through their unique multi-media journalism. It's also great to explore diversity and socialise with young people from different backgrounds and experiences to improve community relations.

"I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account where I like to provide local information about personal or news stories. I cover news and cultural events and would usually work in hostile environments like public order situations and security alerts. Some things are positive, some negative, but the main purpose of my page is to bring a new light, change attitudes, raise awareness, and create/strengthen community ties whenever possible.

"Before my online success, I suffered from dyslexia and social-emotional behaviour difficulties and always found myself getting in trouble in school. I was completely disengaged from any form of education and was referred to occupational therapy, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and outreach services. I had a full-time learning support teacher, I had a reader, I needed extra time, supervised rest breaks and was clinically significant for depression. Eventually, I was withdrawn from the mainstream school system and placed into EOTAS (Education Other Than At School). After months at EOTAS, I overcame my problems, got back into school, achieving 9 GCSE's at grade B except for English in which I got a C, despite having dyslexia.

"My advice to anybody going through problems in their life is that no matter your age, gender, disabilities, sexual orientation, religion, race or anything else, there's always help for you and if you don't try to change anything then nothing ever changes. Be yourself and not what other people expect you to be. Focus on your goals, grow as a person, always care for others and build your legacy. Never let anybody or anything undermine you or dim your light."

Thank you to The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland for making stories like Aodhán's possible.