Project Children was founded in 1975 with the mission to promote peace in Northern Ireland. To date, Project Children has given almost 22,000 children the opportunity to spend a summer in the United States.
Project Children was founded in 1975 by Denis Mulcahy and his brother Pat, both Irish immigrants living in New York. On seeing the situation in Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles, they both wanted to do their part to help out the children who were being exposed to the violence and segregation. That summer they brought 6 children from Northern Ireland, three Protestants and three Catholics, to stay in upstate New York for the summer. The idea was to give them a summer holiday removed from the violence, and to show them that Catholic and Protestants can get along.
Over the following years, the program grew and grew. Project Children developed a huge network of co-ordinators and host families thorughout 20 US states, and a network of co-ordinators in Northern Ireland. At the height of the program, there were 900 children per summer from Northern Ireland being given this opportunity each and every summer.
Project Children is a non-profit organisation. It's success has been made possible by private donations and public grants. Everyone who works for and with Project Children is a volunteer. Not one member of the organisation is paid for their work. Co-ordinators use their own homes as offices, and donate their time in bewteen their jobs and family life. Host families open up their homes for 6 weeks over the summer to one or several children from Northern Ireland to give them this life changing opportunity.
Over the years, Project Children has had a huge influence on the lives of thousands of children from Northern Ireland. They have allowed friendships to be formed that otherwise would not have happened back in Northern Ireland. The children's program is still running to this day and is now on it's 36th summer.
STUDENT SUMMER WORK & TRAVEL PROGRAM BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In 1995, Project Children decided to build on the success of the childrens program. The organisation extendeded it's reach to university students by initiating the summer internship program.
With such a large network of co-ordinators and host families built up over the years throughout the US, Project Children were able to pre-arrange a number of internships through their extensive contacts. In much the same way as the childrens program, students were brought over to the US during the summer to work and live. This gave the students the opportunity to gain some invaluable work experience in an international setting.
Internships are provided in many fields ranging from law and politics, to medicine and engineering. Each internship is selected to ensure the student gets the best possible experience during their time there. The work is very involved and hands on. Students leave the US after the program with a reference that will set their CV apart from others.
Now running for over two decades, over 625 students have taken part in the program. It has grown from the initial 10 students per summer, to over 30 students per summer. As with the children's program, this has all been made possible through private donations, the hospitality of the host families, and the effort of the Project Children volunteers.