Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
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25/08/2018 ULSTER PROJECT DELAWARE

On June 27, 18 Coleraine teenagers representing local schools, faiths and cultures departed for the USA to participate in this years Ulster Project Delaware Programme. Eoghan Gormley, Sarah McAllister and Seamus Donaghy represented Loreto College. They were accompanied by four adult Leaders. The teenagers range in age from fourteen to sixteen years and were interviewed, assessed and ultimately selected for their leadership potential. 

The original guidelines for the Project focused on the prejudices and stereotypes which were the root cause of the bitter strife labelled CatholicProtestant in Northern Ireland. Today, the Project guidelines continue to focus on breaking down prejudices and stereotypes, including those based on race, religion and ethnicity by providing teens with an environment that fosters interfaith friendships, promotes tolerance and respect across the lines that divide us and encourages a shared vision of the future.

Ulster Project Delaware is an ‘experience’ on three levels social, educational and spiritual.  18 American teens hosted 18 Coleraine teens for the month of July, welcoming them into their families and participating in a variety of daily activities as well as participating in Discovery days which focus on communication, conflict resolution and team building.

The agenda for the month was full on with just four unscheduled days. Activities included a Phillies Game, Canoeing on the Brandywine River, beach days, trips to New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Hershey Park, participating in service days in local community centres as well as visiting different Houses of Worship.

New friendships have blossomed and our young people were given a wonderful opportunity to discover more about themselves and others. They returned on 26th July having enjoyed an amazing UPD project and it is something that they will treasure for the rest of their lives. It has been a wonderful experience for all the teens and they probably won’t truly understand how special a time is was until they return to their normal routines and reflect on their experiences and friendships. The hope is that these young people will carry with them in life some, if not all, of what they have learned about themselves and others.