Celebrating 5 Fabulous Years of Michaela Foundation in Belfast City Hall

Tuesday March 1st 2016

On Wednesday February 17th, Michaela Foundation hosted a special reception in Belfast City Hall to celebrate 5 years of positive work with young people throughout Ireland.

The event was well attended by over 120 guests including Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness, MLA Colum Eastwood, Michaela Foundation trustees, further political representatives, partner organisations, corporate sponsors, sporting supporters, treasured volunteers, valued fundraisers and participants.

Guests were entertained on arrival by traditional musicians and beautiful folk singers.

Mickey, DFM Martin and musicians

Michaela Foundation took the opportunity to acknowledge the support provided by friends, family, donors, fundraisers, volunteers and other organisations over the past five years. Speaking on behalf of Michaela Foundation, Mickey Harte said, “I am delighted to be celebrating the first five years of growth of Michaela Foundation. The feel good factor experienced by all those who have been part of the girls’ summer camps is palpable and life changing. I thank God for the support of so many good people who give so generously, on an ongoing basis, to ensure the Foundation continues to influence our young people for the good.”

Mickey, Bridgeen and John
The milestone event also gave Michaela Foundation the opportunity to celebrate the impact their work has made on thousands of young people throughout Ireland. “I am thrilled to be celebrating the success of Michaela Foundation and our summer camps this evening. In 5 years we have grown from 1 camp in 2012 to 20 in 2016, something which I am really proud of. We continue to serve young people throughout Ireland by giving them vital tools in their development in areas such as faith, confidence and well-being” said John McAreavey.

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One of the most captivating moment of the night was when guests listened to previous Campettes Beth and Bridgeen speak of their experience of attending Camp.

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“The Michaela foundation has changed my life. Before going to it, I cared what other people thought of me but now I realise that it really doesn’t matter. I have gained so much confidence and really want to live a “life without limits.” It has taught me that it doesn’t matter where you come from in life, it just matters where you go” stated Bridgeen who attended the Antrim Camp in St. Mary’s University College. 

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Aoife NíShiadháil (Donegal based volunteer and recipient of a Michaela Foundation university scholarship) made clear in her delivery that it is not just the young people who benefit from participating in Michaela Foundation’s Camps and activities but the volunteers too.

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Professor Peter Finn, Principal of St. Mary’s University College (Host venue of the Antrim Camp) gave a powerful account of his working partnership with Michaela Foundation. “When the aims of the Michaela Camp were explained to me I could see that what was being planned was a fun educational experience with a focus on promoting positive values. There was therefore an obvious synergy between St Mary’s and the Foundation. As a host of three camps at this stage, what is very apparent from our perspective is that the educational experience is truly authentic.”

 

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The event concluded with a positive address targeted at the young people and volunteers from Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness. Martin noted that Michaela Foundation empowers young people through practical programmes filled with energy, positivity & fun and is making a real and lasting difference to the lives of our young people.”

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