The Collette Foundation continues to expand its philanthropic hand to disadvantaged children throughout the world; their next stop, Ireland. Collette Vacations passengers who travel on the Countryside of the Emerald Isle will have the opportunity to participate in the betterment of local youths via education.
**This is a guest post from Patricia Grady, Operations and Customer Service Specialist at Collette Vacations!**
I am pleased to announce that we will be visiting the Frank McCourt Museum, a new project for our Ireland Foundation!
This is the second site in Ireland and we felt strongly that this museum, where the famed author Frank McCourt went to school, will be an inspiration to local youth in the Limerick area. Sponsored by the Collette Foundation, disadvantaged youth will learn various skills linked to literature such as the music of language and the art of storytelling.
Students will see that there are opportunities for everyone despite socio-economic background and will be encouraged to follow their aspirations. Students will understand their local heritage and its importance in their personal development. The curator of the museum is passionate about developing the scope of the museum’s potential by partnering with the Collette Foundation. In the words of the museum’s curator and artist, Una Heaton, “If we get the right funding, we could turn the large rooms downstairs into permanent class rooms; it will be a dream come true. I know Frank would love to be here to see his old school used again, to educate young kids.”
The theme of the Frank McCourt Museum relates to one of Limerick’s most disadvantaged groups who reached the heights of literature in winning the much coveted Pulitzer Prize and translates into a major attraction for Irish communities and tourists, particularly those with a literary bent. A significant choice of building, here Frank and one of his siblings attended Leamy School as children. This particular area is recognized as the “Georgian Quarter” and is being promoted as such by state agencies and City Hall. The district itself is one of Limerick’s finest with the advantage of having well-kept buildings in this environmentally friendly zone. Leamy House (formerly Leamy School) was established in 1843 as a dedicated school for poor boys. It remained so for over 100 years, when it was purchased by the Heaton family to set up a factory manufacturing men’s clothing. In the 1990’s, the Leamy House occupancy switched to office rentals until July 2011, when finally and appropriately, its curator, Una Heaton, set up the museum which also serves as an educational resource centre and works on projects in conjunction with second level schools, the Paul Partnership (People Against Unemployment Ltd.) and the Limerick Youth Service, all of which have well established track records.
As an educational resource, the Frank McCourt Museum will identify 15 young people from marginalized areas in Limerick who will be given the opportunity of participating in workshops designed to encourage them to develop additional skills of a cultural nature. Frank McCourt’s inspiring story of survival coupled with his meteoric rise in the world of literature is a testament to the strength and tenacity of the human spirit. Part of this will touch those involved in “A Limerick Project”, sponsored by the Collette Foundation.