Student Testimonials for 2019
Youthreach & Me
By Colm Ryan
When I first came to Youthreach I was pretty nervous. I had no idea what it would be like in here compared to secondary school. I was also really nervous about the new people I’d be with. I never really liked most of the people in my old school and I am not really comfortable being in social situations and I try to avoid them but at least in my old school I knew who I was dealing with. Whereas I didn’t think that I knew anybody that went to Youthreach. I had no clue if they did classes in here the same way as they did them in the Bish or if they did them in a completely different way. I was also worried about the fact that I would be taking a bus every day to Youthreach in the morning because I hadn’t taken a bus since before I was in primary school and I was a bit worried about what I would do If I missed my bus.
Eventually when the day came that I was to go to Youthreach I was panicking a bit but as the day passed, then the weeks and then the months I gained a better understanding of the place and how it worked. The teachers I met were nice and kind and tried to be fair while my fellow students I found were only occasionally annoying and were mostly ok. Compared to the students in the Bish who were constantly shouting over each doing their best to give me a headache, I loved the students who I had to work with in Youthreach. When I realised that I was allowed to bring in something like my kindle to use in between classes I was really pleased. I did not take me very long would become comfortable in this place and around these people.
The work that I had to do in Youthreach was a mixture of stuff that was hard to do, easy to do and something in between the two. Some of the work like maths and cooking I was familiar with and did easily. While others such as textiles, business English and I.T. I wasn’t so familiar with and I had to figure out first. Then there was art which was a subject that I hadn’t done in ages which I also had to figure out. We also had to do a week’s worth of work experience in February and three weeks’ worth of work experience in June.
One of the things that are really good about Youthreach is that we get to go on trips such as when we go to the cinema or when we did laser tag. We also take part in contests such as the Young Social Innovators competition or we will do classes on unusual but fun things such as basket weaving or hairdressing. In Youthreach I have also been able to get myself qualified safepass and manual handling.
Now after almost two years I have grown to really enjoy coming here. There are those amongst my fellow students in here that I would actually call my friends and I have a good relationship with all the members of staff. I have gotten the knack of all the work that I’ve got to do in each of the subjects and I have realised that taking the bus is easy and I actually enjoy doing it.
Olyesya O Rourke
When I first came to Youthreach let me tell you, I was sick to the stomach with nerves. I did not know what the environment or people were like in there. I had been to three different secondary schools before this. It was hard for me to get on with people and fit in. I would usually skip school just so I would not have to face/ speak to anybody. I already knew 3 or 4 people in here already. On my first day I came in with my heart on my sleeve not knowing what to expect, but as the day hours went by it was as if I had been here all along. The young people here were so nice and open to possibilities, along with the teachers who were so kind and welcoming.
Over the year and a half I have been here has changed my life. I have loved the experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed making friends with everyone in here. I am forever grateful for the time, love and effort all the staff have put into me and everyone else here. I know I have missed a few days here and there but that never changed a thing. When I came back it was just the same as when I left, which gave me motivation to keep going and do the work to the best of my ability. This centre has been a family to me while being one of the few safe places in my life. Unfortunately I went through a few bad experiences throughout the year and a half, I was amazed at how much Shane(co-ordinator) and the staff supported me in every way they could. I will never really be able to show them how grateful I am.
In Youthreach we went on lovely trips to the cinema, laser tag, ice skating etc. I feel that the more trips and activities we went on brought everybody in the centre closer. On Wednesdays and Thursdays afternoons we would have activities such as badminton, soccer, basketball etc.. we all thoroughly enjoyed these and had a ball. Every Wednesday we would get to go on a walk from 11 O’clock to half 12 it was lovely to get out. The classes in here were so much smaller than the actual school setting, I feel this helped me enormously as things were better and more clearly thought. The staff really put 100 percent into everything they did.
After 2 years of being here this place has really grown on me. I never really thought I would like coming in as much as I did. I would nearly repeat this over again and experience it all again. The people in here are so lovely and the staff are absolutely hands down amazing and patient, Respect for them all around. A Family for life.
When I first started Youthreach I was very excited and opened to do new things. I wasn’t planning on going to college during my first few months in Youthreach I just wanted to finish as quick as I could so I could get out of Youthreach and get on with my life and get a job because I found it hard to adapt to a school environment after being out for so long.
The first year was hard to get back into the rhythm of things in Youthreach. I wasn’t doing as much work as I should have been when I was attending Youthreach but my behaviour was good for a teenager. Some things that I found stood out to me was that I made friends for life i started on new subjects one in particular was textiles learning how to thread a machine I was amazed by how much I had learnt in the first year, I would have not thought sewing was for lads but amazingly I learned that I could use a sewing machine and thread a needle and repair things if I needed to,
In secondary school we did no trips or activities but in Youthreach I found this was all part of Wednesday activities I love the gym and getting to go to the gym as part of activities was great for me as it let me vent some of the anger I had at times another thing that was a surprise to me was that we had a councillor in two days a week if we needed to talk.
I really matured a lot during my second year I was catching up on my work fitting 2 years work into one year with the help of the teachers and staff supporting me along the way I’m very proud of myself and I’ve a great mind-set from what I would like to do when I’m finished Youthreach definitely go to college get an apprenticeship possibly in plumbing or be an electrician. Yet again a few things stood out for me in my second year such as the YSI project especially going to Athlone and competing with other schools. Christmas we went to Limerick shopping and we did go karting I won as usual. I have done a few work experiences over the two years and they have helped me to engage with young people setting up time tables and practise sessions for them in the gym this helped me build my organisation skills and confidence with will stay with me for life.
Finally I would recommend Youthreach for other people who are having difficulty in school and even life outside of school because we all feel we are a part of something bigger and better.
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