Last week, on Marathon Monday, the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) welcomed the Tyrone-Donegal Partnership (TDP) Wider Horizons group of twenty young men and women in the midst of the chaos of last week’s bomb explosions. The group arrived in our downtown Boston Center an hour before the incident. IIIC and TDP staff and local host families provided a warm, home-away-from-home welcome.

These passionate young people will be working in non-profit volunteer internships for the next six weeks, spanning all of the Greater Boston area. IIIC’s Erika Bareiss, who had previously met with them in Omagh at the beginning of their program, describes how their focus will drive them to great heights: “Because the TDP group centers around media, they will be able to follow their passion while working with local videographers and photographers and connecting with our diverse community.” Her confidence about the success of this group is readily apparent.

I myself had the pleasure of escorting two of the trainees out to Malden last Wednesday to meet their supervisor and to get them oriented to the area. We toured Malden Access TV, where these two will hone their video editing skills, watch and help with local programming, and attend to the needs of the community. They’ll even get a chance to follow their own initiative and make a documentary on a subject of their choosing. The team at the Malden Access TV greeted them with excitement, remarking that they already had projects lined up for them to work on. As we left the center, my two participants immediately burst into delighted chatter, listing off everything they loved. They’ve lifted my own spirits with their sense of wonder and their motivation to get as much out of this wonderful experience as possible.

The IIIC wishes each of the trainees much success in their placements.

NOTE: The IIIC is presently hosting sixty young men and women in Boston on three different Wider Horizons programs in partnership with Clanrye (Counties Down-Louth ), Springboard (Belfast-Dublin), and the Tyrone-Donegal Partnership. These young people, and their group leaders, have demonstrated remarkable courage, commitment and optimism since their arrival - especially in the wake of last week’s security events. We are tremendously proud of them, and we can see that they are developing critical life-skills here in Boston, and will return home to Ireland to be the next generation of future leaders in their communities.