A ‘Transforming Lives for Good’ project is now up and running in Lisburn, with Lisburn Cathedral and Christ Church Parish teaming up to become a centre for the area.
Coordinator, Donna Meenagh, and deputy coordinator, the Rev Derek Harrington, curate in Christ Church Parish, said: “It has been a passion of a few to have this valuable resource available to the schools in Lisburn with the help of passionate volunteers.
“We are currently in two schools in the area with seven coaches who are dedicated to spending one hour a week, one-on-one with a young person identified by the school as a child who would benefit from early intervention whether it be for social, emotional or mental health needs.”
The project started officially in November, with five weeks of coaching before the Christmas break. “Our focus has been having fun and building rapport,” the coordinators said.
“Having resumed in the second week of January, our plan is to have a focused project/interest alongside some ‘me time’ where each coach helps set goals to equip their child with tools in order to be of benefit to them in areas of identified need.
Speaking about the experience so far, one Lisburn TLG coach said: “Coaching is such a fulfilling experience. I was a bit fearful before coaching started, but since meeting the teachers and the young boy, it has been a joy to say the least, and with God’s grace I know it will be a blessing for the young boy.”
Another coach commented: “It is an honour and a privilege to be trusted to come alongside a child who is struggling emotionally in school, and become an encourager, a listener, a conduit for positivity and purveyor of fun activities!
“The consistent connection between coach, school and family is a real blessing. I certainly put every ounce of faith into these one-hour sessions and so far, so good.”
Donna and Derek added: “Please do pray for our TLG centres across Northern Ireland, that God would continue to raise up coaches with a heart for children and young people who are struggling to get alongside them to help bring positive change into their lives.”