In 2012, Soar’s two co-founders, Tony Griffin, and Karl Swan, set about fixing a problem that was becoming evident among Irish teenagers. The country was still recovering from a recession and Irish people were struggling. Many adults had lost jobs, people had to move out of their homes and many young people’s worlds were thrown into a mix of fear and instability. The adults were pessimistic about the future and it was rubbing off on the country’s young people. Griffin and Swan recognized the need to create supportive environments for these young people.
After seeing the documentary, “Every Heart Beats True”- a true story about Jim Stynes – Griffin and Swan decided to contact “The Reach Foundation” in Melbourne. Co-founded by Jim Stynes, Reach was positively disrupting the education system. Reach created brave, innovative, teenage-centric environments where young people got to share their truth and believe their future destinies were in their own hands. After studying their work, Griffin and Swan were inspired to help Ireland’s struggling teens (Soar, 2021). Soar was created.
Today, The Soar Foundation is a non-profit charity based in Dublin. It can be described as a collective movement that believes there is greatness within all young people. The organization creates and delivers early intervention character development workshops for young people aged 13 to 18 years from all backgrounds (Soar, 2021). The workshops empower young people to thrive, believe in themselves, and fulfill their true potential.
Within a supportive environment, teenagers are given the opportunity to be themselves and explore any challenges that are holding them back. Soar has made a great impact on Ireland and the world. The charity has worked with over 47,000 young people and 215 secondary schools/community groups since 2012. Soar has delivered innovative, evidence-based programs across 28 countries.
Soar’s programs are centered around four key elements (prevention, peer-to-peer, character building & depth) that are designed to provide engaging, authentic, and transformative environments for young people. Soar does not arrive at the workshops with a pre-set agenda. Instead, Soar’s facilitators introduce topics over a twenty-minute period and mediate group conversations. The program is supported by key indicators of well-being and delivered by trained facilitators.
Soar positively shapes the adults and leaders of the future by working with teenagers to grow awareness of self and the world around them, build resilience and coping strategies, grow in inner confidence and self-esteem, and develop a sense of agency as they transition into early adulthood. Soar’s mission: By 2025, Soar will reach every transition year student in Ireland with its world-leading preventative, character-building program (Soar, 2021).
Soar is a charity, and public trust in the charity sector has been impacted due to a lack of transparency. Soar is committed to respecting the support they receive by operating with integrity (Soar, 2021). The main income streams are trading income, grants, corporate partners, support partners, and associate partners whilst Soar’s main expenses are workshop cost, labor, events, research, development, marketing, and communication (Soar, 2021).
This research will be conducted for the communication department. Other departments in Soar include operations lead, learning & program development, programs & facilitator management, and funding support (Soar, 2021). See the appendix for Soar’s organizational structure. To ensure the organization grows and increases its impact, it’s very important for Soar to maintain a beneficial relationship with its stakeholders and to develop new systems that strengthen those relationships. Soar has clients who have returned to their services over their ten years of operation, but they also reach new clients daily.