Providing Hope to Young People in a Place They Can Call Their Own
Dóchas don Óige training centre has been providing educational and training opportunities to young people for the last twenty years. What makes Dóchas unique is that unlike mainstream pathways to second level education, staff at Dóchas provide training in an environment that takes the entire person into account, focussing not just on where they have come from but also seeing the potential of where they can go.
The primary concern of Dóchas don Óige is to provide a second chance. Trainees come from varied backgrounds and have a multitude of reasons for early school leaving. Whether referred through the juvenile courts, probation services, social workers, parents or through self-referral, all are in need of an educational environment that can meet their needs at a critical point in their life and enable them to reach their full potential.
This key concept of providing this second chance is demonstrated in a relaxed person centred learning environment, which also guides and counsels young people and their families while in attendance at the centre. Dóchas offer Fetac accredited level 3 and 4 training courses in Employability and Pathway to Employment. Their Strengthening Families Programme offers a fourteen week programme working with the entire family in how to communicate and connect with one another. In addition to the Fetac accredited programs young people also have the opportunity to complete courses in CPR, Mindfulness Sexual Health and Road Safety Awareness as well as involvement in extra -curricular activities.
Originally set up for 8 young people Dóchas is now catering for 18. The centre employs eight part time teachers through the GRETB, while also involving volunteers with various backgrounds and skills to engage with the young people as well as provide support at a management level.
Helen Kelly, manager of the centre says that she is now seeing a lot more positive progression through the educational system despite the growing figures of even earlier school leaving than previously observed. Another key positive trend is the lower rate of reoffending by trainees attending.
Helen points out that staff often have to start from scratch when working with a young person as there has been a serious lack of parenting from a very early age. Developing basic life skills around personal care is often the starting point in her work. The key to success she feels is the overall improvement in self-esteem for the young person while gaining sense of belonging in a safe space.
Helen has huge praise for the people involved with the centre, for their positive role modelling and commitment to the young people. From the tutors, to members of the board, to the Juvenile Liaison Officer she feels very lucky to have such dedicated people as part of her team. The centre hosts a computer room, an art room, a woodwork room as well as a conference room available to rent to groups.
For more information on Dóchas check out www.dochasdonoige.ie