PPI-NI: A Look Back and A Commitment to Make 2016 the Best Yet!

DSC_0036_2It’s the first month of a new year. That means we need a new year’s resolution, right? Well, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland has decided to go against the grain of using the cliché quotes such as “new year, new start.” Instead, we are going to follow the wise words of Hal Borland, who said, “a year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us”. 2015 was an exceptional year for PPI-NI and we are committed to taking 2016 to a whole new level.

In the last four months alone, we have engaged over 1,020 participants in our primary school twinning and after school programs. We had over 780 primary school twinning participants and almost 250 after school participants, and if that is only during four months, you can imagine the statistics for the whole of 2015! These figures show just how many young lives we had an impact on during 2015. But, this wouldn’t have happened without our staff, coaches, volunteers and funders.

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Depauw University Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Bill Fenlon and PPI-NI participants during our Super Sports Day

Our core staff team of 8 worked closely with PPI-NI’s set of over 25 trained basketball coaches and community relations facilitators to help make each session a success. We had volunteers from different organizations and institutions (Study USA, Google Ireland and DePauw University, Indiana to name a few), as well as interns from the Young Adult Volunteers program, University of New Hampshire, and those just wishing to give back to the community. These individuals made a huge difference for the experiences our kids had and made them feel like a part of the wider PeacePlayers family.

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PPI-NI Participants at Jingle Ball 2015

Of course, nothing would happen without our funders! Thank you to every individual, group, council, government department, or foundation who supported PPI-NI in any way during 2015. Your contribution helped over 2000 young people get the chance to come to safe space and discuss living in a divided society, while developing their knowledge and confidence to be a “Champion for Peace” and initiate positive social change in their own part of the community.

It would be great if there were room to list every person/organization who helped PPI-NI by name. The fact that there are too many to mention shows just how much support our organization has received this past year. Let’s continue to work together to keep our new year’s resolution – take forward and expand on our 2015 learning and experiences to make 2016 the best yet!

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