Following the summer break, local residents of Clane and Prosperous will once again return to Clongowes to take part in the Age Action Programme which will re-start on Tuesday September 8th in the James Joyce library with the Transition year students…
In September 2014, a group of 18 Transition year boys began preparations for the ‘Age Action’ outreach programme in Clongowes. This programme was to replace what was previously known as the TEFL programme or ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ to Asylum Seekers in the Kildare area. After having great success for seven years, this programme finally drew to a close having seen dozens of asylum seekers from a multitude of countries complete their Test of Interactive English examinations in English. Since 2007, the programme also helped a multiple of that number to improve their standard of written and spoken English in particular. Alas, all good things must come to an end and with falling numbers of Asylum seekers reaching Irish shores, it was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to the TEFL programme and welcomed a new community outreach initiative, the Age Action outreach programme.
The Age Action programme involves elderly residents from the Clane area, known as the Evergreen Society, visiting Clongowes each Tuesday afternoon from 12.10 – 14.30 to work and socialize with Transition Year students. On a typical Tuesday, the group begins the afternoon by sharing lunch together and enjoying each other’s company in conversation. Once lunch is over, the entire group convenes in the James Joyce Library where a number of social activities take place between our guests and the boys. Initially, this involved board games, story telling, song and scrabble but also more educational activities from helping guests to perform operational tasks on their mobile phones to computer based tasks like setting up an email account, exploring social media to help keep contact with loved ones or reading local news online. Together with these activities, the boys have also created several table quizzes and did themselves proud by displaying their skill in ceilí dancing. Although in this particular instance our Evergreen friends gave the boys an education!
Although the programme only began a year ago, it has been received with great enthusiasm by all concerned and the mutual engagement and positive social interaction between the Transition Year boys and the Evergreens has been heart warming. A warm thank you to all the boys involved last year who did themselves proud by their efforts throughout the year. Each one of them worked hard to make the programme a success though their engagement and participation. Very special thanks also go to Ms Jane O’Loughlin our librarian, whose generous help and participation in the programme contributed enormously to its overall success. We look forward to Tuesday September 8th and to a new group of young men who will no doubt match the success of their predecessors.
Mr Francis Marron