"Making the transition from primary into secondary school can often be a difficult time," says Anne Howard, a Project Worker with Foróige’s Carrick-on-Suir Neighbourhood Youth Project (NYP)
“It can be difficult as they are discovering themselves and what they are good at and have a passion for.” The NYP was established in 1997 in Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary.
Anne believes that the NYP plays a vital role in a community. “The NYP exists to divert young people away from getting into bother, support them in school and stop them from getting into the care system.”
The Foróige NYP runs a variety of programmes which can benefit young people in a number of ways. “The homework club is one of the main programmes that we run,” says Anne. “It does much more than just helps the kids with their homework. It also helps them with their development and to improve their socialisation skills.
“They have got so much going on in their lives. It’s great to be able to come in here and have a great time, be themselves and not worry about people making fun of them.”
Anne says that when the kids she has worked with grow up, they often come back to her to thank her for positively improving their lives. “Sometimes I wouldn’t be aware of how much stress kids are under,” says Anne. “But it feels great when they come back 10 years later and say the ‘NYP really got me through a tough time in my life’.
“I do get a great sense of satisfaction from seeing the change in young people who go on to lead happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives as a result of their time with Foróige.”
Anne says she now is working with the children of girls that she worked with when she started working at the NYP more than a decade ago. “It is great to see the generations coming through. Foróige has been such a part of these mum’s lives that they can’t wait to get their kids involved.”
Anne has been moved by Sarah Dunleavy’s story and is keen to single her out for praise. “I would have worked with Sarah from when she was about 13 or 14,” says Anne.
“She is an amazing woman. She really identifies with kids and she inspires them by telling stories about her own life. The kids identify with her and think ‘if she can do it, I can do it too’.”