Twelve years ago, Sarah McAlinden was a participant on a Wider Horizons program in Canada. Even then, she knew that being a group supervisor was a job she would enjoy. Currently on her tenth Wider Horizons program, it is Sarah’s first trip to Boston. “It’s brilliant,” she says, “There’s so much I want to do here.”
Sarah comes from Lurgan in County Armagh and has been working with the Tyrone-Donegal Partnership for the past two and a half years. “This group is a really good bunch of people,” she notes, smiling.
Sean Taggart, from outside of Omagh, is a supervisor on his first Wider Horizons program. Sean began working with the group on a part-time basis during their twelve week training period in Omagh. He is enthusiastic about his experiences so far, and talks eagerly about the program and its benefits.
“I wanted to get back into youth work,” Sean says of his interest in working with the program. Previously he was involved with coaching sports, working with people with disabilities, and teaching business and IT at a secondary school in England.
As group supervisors, Sarah and Sean are a source of support for the participants; they provide direction, training, and manage issues.
The Wider Horizons group has only been in Boston a few days, but they have been together in Omagh for the past three months as part of their training on the program. “It’s good to see them grow as individuals,” Sarah says. She is glad to see these strides in the participants’ personal development and notes that she has seen a growth in confidence for many of them.
The focus of this program is community leadership, and back in Omagh the group worked to fundraise over 1,000 pounds for a mental health charity, PIPS. While in Boston, the participants are volunteering at non-profits with a youth and community focus.
“I’m just really excited to see how they get on in their work placements,” Sarah comments. “The IIIC worked hard to get good placements [for them].”
Sean agrees. “This is a fantastic opportunity for the participants,” he says.
Everyone at the IIIC welcomes Sarah, Sean, and the TDP Wider Horizons participants.