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Student Testimonials

Testimonials from our Youthreach students

I first came to Youthreach Blanchardstown as a trainee in 1989. At that time Youthreach was a training centre with no emphasis on accreditation. There were 2 groups and the day was split into 2 sessions. Subjects at the time were Woodwork, Catering, Art, Literacy, Numeracy and Life skills.

I began teaching in Youthreach Blanchardstown in November 1997 and am currently in my twentieth year here. The focus of Youthreach has evolved immensely over the years and I have had the pleasure of witnessing this evolution from both a student and teacher’s perspective. Youthreach gives young people who are not suited to mainstream education a second chance. It increases their confidence and belief in themselves. This in turn motivates them to succeed in education and increase their future job prospects.

Over the years I have had discussions with students about Youthreach and their opinion is always the same. “Without Youthreach we would not have an education”. Coming from a similar socio-economic background I value the importance of education and its role in securing a successful future. Youthreach gave me a second chance. Youthreach gave hundreds of young people from Blanchardstown a second chance.

Everybody deserves a second chance!

Elaine O Brien

Shane OwenMy time at Youthreach was probably the most important time in my life. I came to Youthreach with no education or goals for my future but left with a good education and a plan for who and what I wanted to be. My previous experience in education had been predominantly negative and had left me feeling disillusioned and hopeless. However, from the first day I attended Youthreach I was treated with a kindness, respect and patience which in turn gave me the confidence to develop and peruse new education and life goals. Ultimately Youthreach fundamentally changed both my world view and the direction of my life for the better. Today I am happy with my life; I have multiple academic degrees and am beginning my post-doctoral PhD studies. I feel that the educational, social and emotional support I received at Youthreach as being a very large part of why my life is the way it is today. Put simply, my time in Youthreach changed my life for the better in every domain and I am proud to have attended this school.

Shane Owen

Sandra DoyleAs a young Mother Youthreach laid the foundation for a second chance in education. Through all the support and encourAge:ment from Youthreach staff I was able to further my education which enabled me to secure employment as a resource person in Youthreach Blanchardstown.

Sandra Doyle

CeredigI moved here from another country after failing my exams and knew no one, Youthreach means a chance to meet new people and get out and about. It also allowed me to give my education another go.

Ceredig,  20

ReeceFor me, Youthreach was a second chance at education as I left school in 5th and because of the timing no school had a place for me. I was also new in Clare as I’m from limerick so Youthreach gave me the chance to meet other people in same sort of situation as myself.

Reece, 18

KristapsI like the Youthreach program because its more laid back and its more practical. And it’s a new way for me to meet new people.

Kristaps, 17

MartinYouthreach for me is a second chance at education as I left school early. It has been easy to make new friends and the staff are a great bunch of people and very friendly.

Martin, 19

AmyI left school and wanted a second chance education. I am only on day 2 here but it feels like I have been here since the start. The staff are great- they treat you like an adult. The programme takes care of my own needs as I find it difficult to work in groups and the students are great.

Amy, 18

JordanThe reason I came to Sportsreach was because I left school and this was the only other place I could go that I’d still get an equivalent to a Leaving Certificate qualification. It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. It’s so much better than school. It’s a bit more laid back and the classes aren’t as hard and you don’t do as many classes as you would in school. The teachers are nicer and you get to play an hour or two of football. I really enjoyed my experience and the opportunity Youthreach gave me.

Jordan Kane, 17 year old Sportsreach student

JoelleMy name is Joelle Williams and I am currently a student in Liberties College Dublin. I am in my final year of my QQI (FETAC) Level 5 Social Studies Course and I have returned to Youthreach to complete my work experience module. I attended Bray and North Wicklow Youthreach from 2009 until 2012. While attending Youthreach I completed my full FETAC Level 4 and also numerous Level 3 modules. For me Youthreach was extremely beneficial. Not only did it allow me to continue my education, but it also gave me the supports I needed as a young mother. Being at Youthreach gave me the confidence and motivation to continue my education, something I felt at the time was not possible. I felt that all the components in my Level 4 award were extremely relevant and useful to me continuing on in all aspects of life. While attending Youthreach I felt supported in both my education and my personal life with the staff being extremely kind and helpful and always there to chat about any obstacle that I may have come up against and would help in any way they could. Being at Youthreach also taught me life skills that I still use to this day, such as cooking meals, computer skills, communication skills and also a first aid course. I could also build a coffee table using my woodwork skills, if I really wanted! I remember my time at Youthreach as being fun, happy and a really enjoyable experience. I made lasting friendships and memories and I feel the door is always open at Youthreach for any support I may need in the future. 

Joelle Williams, Bray, Co. Wicklow

Michaela DesmondMy name is Michaela Desmond and I was an early school leaver. The academic setting of mainstream schooling was not a good fit for me. Like so many other young people, it did not suit my individual needs or cater to me sufficiently as a young learner. I left in late 2012 when I was 17. Having left school without a Leaving Certificate, I assumed there was nowhere for me to progress to academically, and that my only option was to find a job that implored willingness to work and experience as opposed to qualification. I did not find out about Youthreach until late 2013 and applied, with success, beginning in 2014. Youthreach became a home away from home. A comfortable and happy setting, a place in which I could learn and better myself, become confident, meet new people and gain new experiences. It was not only the setting and experiences of Bray Youthreach that changed my life, but the people I met also. The staff of Bray Youthreach are the most brilliant, supportive and caring people I have ever met. The level of encouragement I received from each and every one of them is incomparable and I will never be able to repay them for everything they have done for me. In Youthreach, I studied for and achieved a distinction in Level 4 General Learning. This included a variety of subjects not available in mainstream schools such as Childcare, Health Related Fitness, Communications and Personal & Interpersonal Development. These modules, amongst others that given the option in mainstream, I would not have chosen to do such as Woodwork have given me a completely new set of skills to harness as I move forward. Youthreach gave me back my options. Completing my level 4 opened up doors for me. It allowed me to continue with my education. I am now in college and completing a Level 5 in Animal Healthcare. This is just the first step toward creating a career for myself in an industry I have always had an interest in, and this would not have been possible without Youthreach. No matter how much I further my education and career from now, it will always stem back to my time in Youthreach. And I will forever be grateful for being given the opportunity to be a student there.

Michaela Desmond

I was one of your first students while you were in Irishtown. It was the best time of my life. I made new friends, learned a lot and had a lot of fun. My teachers were the best I’ve had since I left school in in 96. I want to thank Janet Doyle, Oonagh Hogan, Kevin Mernagh, Collette, Jim O’Hanlon and Sharon, the cooking teacher. I’ve kept my Youthreach cookbook and I still use it from time to time. I would also like to thank Betty Doyle, Janet’s mam, for the best time. The memories go on! Thank you for all the best times.

Paul Furlong

Youthreach is a big part of my life, because if not for Youthreach I wouldn’t have the knowledge I have now. I’ve learned a lot here and aim to do and be the best I can be. I love coming to Youthreach as all the teachers are very welcoming and make learning more fun and easier. I’m glad I started at Youthreach and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Katie, Age 17, Enniscorthy Youthreach

Youthreach to me is a lot better than secondary school. I feel you can get better help in Youthreach, because of its smaller classes. You get on with all the teachers better because they don’t talk down to you. The classes are a lot more fun and go by really quick. In Youthreach you can feel comfortable talking to someone like a teacher if you need to talk. I think it’s easier in Youthreach because the Leaving Certificate is spread out over two years and you get the help that you need. I personally didn’t want to come to Youthreach because I thought it was the exact same as school, but now that I am nearly finished my second year here I would recommend it to people I know the are no longer in school. I have made so many new friends here and I wouldn’t go back.

Erica, Age 18

To me Youthreach means a good education and a lot more things to be capable of doing in the future (e.g. hairdressing). So far I am getting on great in Youthreach, because I get to do hairdressing, woodwork, craft/design as extra subjects while if I was in my old school I couldn’t have the opportunity to do any of these things.

Ciara, Age 16