CHEERS to a new beginning, an opportunity, the courage to try something new and being brave enough to leave your comfort zone. The young men that come to E-Hoops every Wednesday night and I have a lot in common. As I have been flown over to Northern Ireland to seize an opportunity and leave everything I know behind in the States, these young men get on a bus and head over to Jordanstown and leave there life in Rathcoole behind for a couple hours and explore something new and different from what they know. Of course when I came over to Northern Ireland I was unsure of what was ahead of me and I believe these guys felt the same. But the fact that they took that leap of faith and put themselves in a position where they can better there life and the lives around them, I have great admiration and respect towards their intentions. As the first female to work at E-Hoops, many were a bit on edge to see how the boys would react to my presence in the gym. I could not have asked for a warmer welcome from this group of guys. The amount of laughs we have is remarkable and the chats we get to have mean so much to me. They accept me for who I am and I do the same. The concept is that simple. It has only been three weeks and I feel such a connection already. They are helping me grow as a person just as much as I am helping them. I look forward to Wednesday night E-Hoops every week because of the energetic atmosphere and the people that I surround myself with. My Mom has always told me to “bloom where you are planted” and I believe the E-Hoops program gives these young men the opportunity to do so and I plan on doing the same.