By Sean Ryan - 04 April, 2016
Prominent homeless and social justice campaigner, Fr Peter McVerry, has praised the work of Youtheach in providing second chance education throughout the country.
The Jesuit priest, who is the founder of the Peter McVerry Trust, was the keynote speaker at the Staff Connect – Connecting Staff conference which took place in the Radisson Blu hotel on the Ennis Road in Limerick city last week.
Fr McVerry’s lecture focused on encouragement and its importance in building relationships among marginalised and excluded groups.
He praised Youthreach for the work it does with young people, pointing out that it has had “enormous success” in providing second chance education.
“We have to give young people the message that they are just as important as everyone else and that is the most important thing we can do in Youthreach,” he said.
The Jesuit campaigner added that working with vulnerable young people was all about “accompanying them in achieving the objectives they set for themselves”.
“Youthreach students are the modern prophets in our education system. They challenge injustice and make society look at issues that society doesn’t want to look at.”
“Youthreach transmits fundamentally important values that the student has a value as a person regardless of past achievements,” Fr McVerry added.
The conference was the first in what is planned to be a series of events for and by the Youthreach sector, within the Limerick and Clare Education & Training Board (LCETB).
Its objectives were to provide staff with an opportunity to meet and get acquainted with those with the sector; focus on staff well-being and identifying the content and methodology for future conferences and Continuous Professional Development (CPD).
It was attended by LCETB chief executive, George O’Callaghan, along with education officer Bernadette Cullen and the national Youthreach coordinator Gerry Griffin.
Youthreach in O’Connell Street in Limerick City offers Junior & Leaving Certificate programmes to students who have fallen away from the mainstream education system.