January 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized
I just started the second half of my time here in Ireland after I went home to New York for Christmas. Although I have mostly been working with the Ehoops program involving local kids from Belfast, I recently began to expand to new areas. One new experience was working at the Woodlands Juvenile Detention Center. Woodlands is basically a minimum security prison for teenagers who have committed various crimes in the Belfast area.
Working in Woodlands was a drastic change from what I had been previously doing. Usually we work with kids who are at risk on committing crimes but in this case I was exposed to kids who had already made that mistake. Despite being incarcerated, the kids were excited when we started our program at woodlands.
When you walk in the room, the kids size you up and try to gain an understanding of what you’re about. At first the kids were tentative when we started at Woodlands, but when we played sports, all of their reservations about our presence disappeared. After a week we noticed that the kids were looking forward to our weekly appearance. We offered the kids an avenue of escape from the sometimes monotonous existence they have at Woodlands.
This has become one of my better assignments because I feel the program makes a difference with the kids, even if that just means providing a momentary reprieve from their daily life at the detention center.
Victory Scholar: Khalid Robinson
Present University: University of Ulster
Alma Mater: Fordham University