Foróige Youth Group
The Aisling Center’s Foróige Club began in June 2018. It serves as a model to engage Irish American youth and gives many young people the opportunity to connect with their Irish heritage and their peers.
The program is geared toward engaging our youth in leadership roles while carrying out civic duties and complements the center’s community caring ethos. The club is for youths aged 12-18 years old, essentially the most formative years for developing a sense of civic responsibility. Foróige Clubs are a safe place for young people to get together, meet new friends and have a voice.
What makes Foróige different from other youth clubs is that it is run by the young people themselves. This allows them to believe in themselves, make decisions and practice leadership skills.
So far, our Foróige Club has been very successful in the community and is currently at full capacity with 38 active teenage members, and a waiting list in place. We find that many of our members are those who aren’t necessarily involved in the GAA, Irish music and Irish Dance. Our Foróige Club offers an alternative for them to connect with their Irish heritage while also learning key leadership skills.
The aim of our Foróige Club is to allow members to grow within the nurturing environment of the club while learning valuable life-skills and undertaking leadership training.
They participated in fun activities such as go karting and quiz nights and have met with Irish government officials. They have also worked with our ‘Irish Volunteers for the Homeless program here, collecting socks, blankets and hygiene products for those who are in need on the streets of NYC. By actively participating in activities such as these, our teenage members are gradually learning the importance of community development and effective leadership.
The club has also gone on trips to see documentaries, such as “How to Defuse a Bomb; the Project Children story” and had as a guest speaker, the founder of Project Children, Denis Mulcahy, speak to them on effective leadership.
They also learned about the troubles in Northern Ireland and saw a different side to Irish history. The group had other guest speakers such as local Attorney and Firefighter, Peter Doran speak to them about different careers. Some of our members also had the wonderful opportunity to attend an event at the UN to commemorate the Convention Of the Rights of the Children in December, 2019. They were invited by the Irish Mission to the United Nations and spent the day experiencing the life of an Irish diplomat.