By Daniel Donegan, Wider Horizon Trainee

Wider Horizons trainee Daniel Donegan teaches guitar at The Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester.

My name is Daniel Donegan, and I am here in Boston as part of a program called Wider Horizons. This program is designed to build bridges between people from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and from the Catholic and Protestant communities. Its other main aim is to help give young unemployed adults their confidence back, so that they can get back into the workforce. This is why our group is spread throughout Boston, working for non-profit organizations.

I am working at The Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester, at their Music Clubhouse, teaching kids about music and how to play instruments.

Before arriving in Boston, the only interaction I had had with kids was refereeing a soccer game, or telling them to be quiet when I’m watching something good on TV. Since I have started volunteering at the Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club, I have been amazed at how the kids here really want to learn and better themselves all the time.

Primarily, my job here is to teach guitar. My students, who range from beginner level to the more advanced players, all give 100% effort. The Clubhouse also offers classes and labs for voice, drums, bass and piano.

The facilities here are second to none, with enough instruments to keep everybody playing. They have five Apple Imac computers, a drum room with three fantastic kits, and a recording studio. It is every musician’s dream space, myself included.

The clubhouse hosts nights such as Open Mic and Karaoke, and also has guest performers. In my first week here, there was an open mic night for the kids to give them the chance to get up and showcase their talents. We had musicians, singers, dancers, and even a girl reciting some of her own poetry. The turnout to perform was so great that there was not enough time to see everyone who signed up!

Just last week we had American Idol Superstar Erin Daneele come in with her band to perform at the “Back to School Jam”. We also have a band here called the Clubhouse Allstars, who were invited to play at last week’s Beantown Jazz Festival. I was at their show, and they performed brilliantly.

This trip to Boston has opened my eyes to many possibilities, and I hope that I can bring some of this positive outlook and drive back to Ireland with me.

Note: IIIC manages a number of Wider Horizons programs in Boston each year. We are proud to be part of such an amazing program!