The faith based summer scheme Mol an Oige was given a warm welcome in Creggan this week when it returned to the area where the ‘Shine’ youth group - which operates the scheme - first began.
The aims of the scheme are to enhance self esteem in young people and co ordinator Oonagh McAllister says all this and more was achieved this week, despite the group having had minimial funding at their disposal.
She did however thank well known Creggan community worker Tony Doherty without whom she said the scheme would never have gone ahead in the area.
“Funding and premises was provided by Creggan Neighbourhood Partnership through Tony who came to visit us last year in Galliagh. He was so impressed that he was positively demanding we bring this programme home to Creggan. We also want to say a big thank you more importantly to the children of Creggan. The community welcomed us with open arms. We had over 100 kids everyday and our 40 amazing volunteers.”
Oonagh emphasised how the group relied entirely on traditional methods of play to deliver their positive messages.
“We don’t have funding for trips, bus runs, computer games or any other expensive resources. We have skipping ropes and play traditional games focused on building self esteem and positive relationships.
“Our greatest resource is our young volunteers who give up their summer holidays to share their faith experience in a way children can relate to using stories that children recognise. This year we used Disney’s Frozen or Finding Nemo relating them to parables Jesus told like the Prodigal Son, just like what jesus himself did, taking everyday contexts to share his message in a way that people understood.
“Our message is simple ‘Mol an Oige’ which means ‘praise the youth’ and they will blossom. This week we have brought hope to Creggan and the children have brought hope to us,” added Oonagh.