Our Ireland Project, the Frank McCourt Museum, which we only began partnering with a few months ago, was recently given a stellar write up in Ireland’s Limerick Post. After a recent group of disadvantaged Irish youth attended a three-week workshop, the response was overwhelming. The students delved into literature, working together to write a play and perform it. For many, their attendance at the program at Frank McCourt was their first introduction to both literature and performing.
When the workshop was over, more than half of the students said it enabled them to become more confident, over 80% said that it helped them become more creative and tap into their imaginations, and over 90% said that the course had helped them to make decisions, express themselves, and share opinions. 100% of the young students stated that the workshop helped them to work better in a team.
The successful workshop caught the interest of the Limerick Post – which garnered some much-needed attention for this wonderful foundation which strives to engage youth in need with culture and education.
Fiona Quinn, the program’s director, stated that the workshop was an overwhelmingly positive experience for all those involved. She was very impressed with both the enthusiasm of the students and the excellent support that they received from their Youthreach teachers. The students far exceeded Fiona’s expectations to such an extent that she was able to take the class to a far higher level than she had originally thought possible.
She was also very happy with the Museum as a location for the Workshop – the ambience of the Museum, the inspirational nature of Frank McCourt’s life and writings, and the friendly nature of the staff and their welcoming attitude, all contributed to making the pilot project a success and provided the ideal venue for a non-formal learning experience.
The workshop tremendously enhanced the confidence of all participants and she noted that several students who had been initially shy and withdrawn at the beginning of the course had become fully engaged and animated by the end.
Fiona believed that the workshop had fully met its targets for it had given the students a sense of self-worth, a sense of achievement and they had become creatively empowered. The project had given the young people an opportunity to develop a ‘voice’ to express themselves; they had learnt about working co-operatively together in a group for a creative purpose and as a result they had developed a storyline and created their own drama script.
Now, the foundation looks to a bright future. The Pilot project ‘performed’ wonderfully — gained the foundation some positive attention from local media and audiences — and impacted the lives of some children already. We are so excited to continue working with our partner in Ireland to take this project to the next level.