Gina takes the Youth Bank message to USA

Gina McKnight.
Gina McKnight.

Banbridge Academy student Gina McKnight will soon be jetting off to Chicago to represent Northern Ireland at an international Youth Bank conference.

Gina, who is a member of Youth Bank in Banbridge, was delighted to have been selected to attend the conference, together with Vernon Ringland, who has been the driving force behind the formation of Youth Bank in Northern Ireland.

Gina and Vernon will join representatives from Youth Banks from across Europe for the event, at which Gina will have the chance to talk about her experience with the organisation.

“I got involved in Youth Bank when I was in fourth year,” explained Upper Sixth student Gina.

“A girl came to the school to do an assembly so I decided to sign up without knowing much about it and I’ve stayed for three years.”

Youth Bank gives young people the opportunity to fundraise and then distribute grants to projects in the town.

“Over the course of the year we fundraise,” explained Gina. “For example we hold quiz nights, talent competitions and bag packs.

“Then we open up the grant round. This year we are offering £500 to youth groups with young people from age 14 to 25. We go through the applications and short list them. We then hold interviews before allocating the grants.”

Gina believes she has gained a lot from her involvement in Youth Bank and is looking forward to sharing her experiences in America.

“It has made such a difference to my confidence and I can’t believe I have been selected. It will be a really great experience,” she added.