Northern Ireland has seen it’s fair share of Champions this year; Rory McIlroy won the PGA Championship, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon won gold medals in boxing at the Commonwealth Games and Kelly Gallagher won the gold medal in skiing at the Sochi Paralympics earlier this year. We all have our champions that we look up to, but what better champions to admire than our Junior Champions4Peace (C4P)?
Our Junior C4Ps have been very busy over the past few months, organising fundraisers, trips and playing basketball. The group are currently working on trying to raise money for a trip to Brooklyn, NY in October 2015; “Belfast2Brooklyn 2K15”. Through running events such as a Sponsored Onesy Dribble Walk, a Car Wash, Sponsored Shootout as well as our Pie4Peace Challenge, they have raised £1350 so far. The target is £9,000 so we still have a lot of work to do.
Over the next few months the Junior C4Ps will take their learning from the 3 Pillars of Champions4Peace and 10 Champions will travel to Brooklyn to share their knowledge and to learn from their partners at the Necelina McDonald Memorial Foundation. Whilst in Brooklyn, the Champions will run a Game of 3 Halves (GO3H) using Gaelic, rugby and soccer for their partners and support them to run a GO3H event using sports from their community (basketball, baseball and American football). As well as introducing the sports the Champions will share their knowledge of community relations and the part it plays in sport in Northern Ireland. The groups will then discuss their experiences and the similarities and differences between them.
Last weekend, the group discussed why they were part of the group and what they believed a Champion4Peace to be.
Here are some of their answers:
“I’m a C4P because I want to be friends with people from other religions and I would like to be a coach when I’m older. C4P is a programme from PeacePlayers to make the next generation of coaches and to prove to people that Catholics and Protestants can be friends.” Ryan McStravick, 12yrs old.
“A Champion4Peace is a person who has an aim to bring peace between religions and cultures, to take away hate and sectarianism from Belfast. I would like to be a coach when I’m older as from a young age PeacePlayers coaches have been my roles models and I think it would be amazing to bring kids together from different communities.” Aimee McMinn, 14yrs old.
“We could be the next generation of PeacePlayers coaches and by that I mean we could make a change in Northern Ireland, in both communities by showing that it doesn’t matter what religion you are, we’re a team” Niamh McNally, 11yrs old.
These young people are the future, future leaders in their community, future coaches for PeacePlayers, future makers of change and bringers of hope. These young people believe in the possibility of peace in Northern Ireland and want to help make it happen. If you would like to help these kids make their way to Brooklyn to spread the hope of Peace, then please head over to our JustGiving page and make a donation: https://www.justgiving.com/PPI-B2B.