Help to find a per­fect fit

The Irish Times - Tuesday - Health - - Family -

A guide to help young peo­ple and their par­ents choose an af­ter-school arts youth project that is right from them has just been pub­lished for the first time by the Na­tional Youth Coun­cil of Ire­land (NYCI).

Ques­tions to Ask about Join­ing a Youth Arts Project: Help­ing You Find the Per­fect Fit! is the work of the coun­cil’s se­nior project of­fi­cer in youth arts, Anne O’ G or man. Vol­un­tary par­tic­i­pa­tion in non-for­mal ac­tiv­i­ties af­ter school is such a valu­able counter-point to for­mal ed­u­ca­tion and so sig­nif­i­cant in terms of leisure time and cre­at­ing friend­ships, that “mak­ing the right choices is im­por­tant”, she says.

Even if a young per­son de­cides to join a mu­sic project, one mu­sic project isn’t the same as an­other, she points out. One may be very fo­cused on com­pe­ti­tions and an­other may just want young peo­ple to make friends, us­ing singing as a way to con­nect them .“Both of those are valid but you will be much hap­pier if you are in the right one.”

Asked if th­ese low-costop­tions are in­clined to be over­looked, O’Gor­man agrees that there can be a pre­sump­tion that some­thing cost­ing a lot of money is bet­ter qual­ity. But the professional is at ion of youth work has trans­formed it from the more hap­haz­ard gath­er­ings par­ents might have ex­pe­ri­enced in their teenage years.

“There are so many guide­lines and reg­u­la­tions around non-profit youth projects and they are so well or­gan­ised and put to­gether with such care and con­sid­er­a­tion, it is worth peo­ple ask­ing those ques­tions and find­ing this out,” she says.

The NYCI is also com­mit­ted to try­ing to level dis­par­ity in ac­cess to the arts. “It should not be the case,” O’Gor­man adds, “that if your par­ents can af­ford to pay for them, you will have drama and art and mu­sic in your life and if your par­ents don’t, you won’t.”


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