Homework clubs prove lifeline to help children 'make right choices'
Parents in north inner city Dublin fear their children could end up involved with crime if it wasn't for a local resource centre.
The capital has seen a rise in drug and gangland crime in recent years, sparking fears that young people could get drawn into the underworld.
But parents of children at the local St Vincent de Paul resource centre, Ozanam House, which runs pre-school and homework clubs, say they were thrown a lifeline by the charity.
Single mother-of-three Eszter Bogolin picks up her two boys Malik (7) and Abdullahi (6) from the homework club every day at 5pm and said she would worry about how they might express themselves if they didn't have the club.
"I am living in a flat complex," she said.
"I think children are better off being in a community, where mam and dad might not supervise them, but the teachers here help them and teach them how to behave.
"Or alternatively we can let them play until 9pm."
Ozanam House is managed by the Society of St Vincent de Paul and runs after school clubs as well as classes for older people.
Members pay a nominal fee which is used to support the running of the centre. The club has had a major impact on the children who attend, said Ms Bogolin.
"I always get compliments for my children and it is not always my teaching, it's stuff they picked up in the after school club because they learn respect and how to behave.
"It has made a huge difference - even my youngest boy is so excited because they have now started cooking classes with them," she added.
Both Malik and Abdullahi go straight from school at 1.30pm or 2.30pm and the routine has spilled over into the evenings where the boys now play football or hurling twice a week.
"My older son has training on Mondays and Thursdays and my younger one goes too. My little girl has training Wednesdays and Thursdays.
"They all play GAA, so football and hurling or camogie, and I hope they stick with it."
Centre manager Tony Rock said community hubs like the resource centre give locals an alternative to crime.
"It's all about giving people choices," he said. "Centres like this give people opportunities and the judgment to make the right positive choices for themselves... if they are given that ability then they will always stay clear."
To donate please visit www.svp.ie/donate
You can also call 01 8848200 or donate locally