I was volunteering with Swords/Badoyle Youth Service, with a group of young girls who were in the nearby direct provision centre. It was their first time coming across a Black Irish person and they were really intrigued by my accent and my mannerisms and everything. It was really emotional to engage with them, even though we came from different places, the connection of Blackness was there. One of the girls, she was only 9 years old, she looked at me and said ‘What do you DO?! What are you doing in college?” I told her I was studying youth work and wanted to bring about change for young people. And she was so happy to see that there was someone who looked like her, who was doing this work. In that moment, it was really moving for me – feeling that my presence had helped to motivate her in her own journey of education.
Youth groups in towns and villages around Ireland need local volunteers who can help rebuild our safe and secure spaces for young people. People like Blessing, people like you.