As part of the Garda Youth Diversion Programme, Jamie and Patrick initiated a Foróige Youth Citizenship project in their local residence for the elderly in Newcastle West, Co Limerick.
Garda Youth Diversion Projects are funded by the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning as part of its commitment to Social Inclusion and Combating Discrimination.
Patrick and Jamie volunteered two hours of their time each week spending this time with the residents of St. Ita’s Community Hospital.
Together they played music, potted plants, or just sat down and had a chat with the residents, even helping the residents learn how to use Skype to talk to family and friends!
The residents described the two young men as “a breath of fresh air in the place” and “pleasant, friendly and full of mischief”.
Projects like this promote active citizenship among young people which not only has the benefit of improving their communities but also enables them to grow socially, psychologically and intellectually.
Jamie and Patrick gained immense respect for the elderly people of their community, but also gain respect from them.
Mary Walsh, a nurse in St Ita’s, said:
“It was a great success, for the residents to have the boys visit them voluntarily and to laugh with them in a way I’ve never seen before.”
Since the project finished in July, Patrick is in his final year of school and hoping to pass his full Leaving Cert.
Jamie has started Leaving Cert Applied and is encouraging others to join him in volunteering their time in St. Ita’s Community Hospital.