‘Most of the time, I just don’t feel I’m good enough.’ This is the most common statement that Gary Cunningham has heard whilst speaking in schools and YouthReach groups around Ireland. A former inmate of Mountjoy Prison and the author of Joys of Joy: Finding Myself in an Irish Prison and Life After Joy: A Prisoner No More, Gary has had the opportunity to deliver his unique message to hundreds of young people across the nation.
But it was in one particular school, when Gary was informed of the recent tragic suicide of a twelve-year-old student, that he realized there was a crisis at hand and that he had to do something about it.
Inside these pages are stories sadly based on true events. Each deals with topics and situations that came up whilst speaking to students: bullying, peer pressure, dealing with grief, consent, social media and, shockingly, suicide. He concludes that the young people today are not ‘moody and rude’ as often portrayed – they are simply trying to navigate a fast-changing, high-pressured world while feeling very unsure of themselves.
These stories will give the reader some food for thought and a different way of looking at, and dealing with, certain situations. Hopefully, this book will also spark much-needed conversations between young people and their families, friends, teachers and others.
Above all, Gary wants everyone reading this book to realise that they do not need to be perfect – instead, they should look in the mirror and say out loud, ‘I Am Enough!’