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MAY 2006
28/05/2006 Children Snap At Art and Media Exhibition
20/05/2006 Aideen Runs To Stand Still
17/05/2006 Box Office Success For Children's Charity
15/05/2006 Gardiner Street Gospel Choir Says Thanks
11/05/2006 WIPAN Summer Dinner In Dublin
10/05/2006 WIPAN Launches On Bebo
08/05/2006 Where Are They Now? - Leo Varadkar (2000)

Children Snap At Art and Media Exhibition

Children’s charity the Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) has announced the launch of a children’s art and media exhibition to be hosted at Ormeau Baths Gallery, it was revealed today.

The Youth Empowerment Scheme will launch the art and media exhibition at the Ormeau Baths Gallery on Tuesday evening at 7.30pm showcasing the work of children, aged 11-14 years old from across Belfast. The children’s charity, which provides a weekly mentoring service, uses art, media and drama as a way of bringing together children from diverse backgrounds.

The exhibition will include the screening of a political broadcast created by the children of YES highlighting issues such as bullying, smoking and racism. On display will be over thirty images exploring and celebrating different themes such as diversity and cultural identity. In addition, a giant mural depicting young people’s ideas of the world in fifty years time will be showcased.

“The exhibition serves to highlight the excellent work by YES participants over the last twelve months” said Michaela Smyth, Vice-Chairperson of the children’s charity. “The range of work on display celebrates the diversity of the children. We are extremely proud of children and their achievements. The exhibition demonstrates the creative ways young people can explore important issues of the day. I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to visit this worthwhile exhibition in the coming days”.

Emily Chan (aged 15) a participant of YES who will officially open the exhibition said:

“The exhibition is a good way for other young people and the general public to see first hand how children can express themselves through art and media. My experience at YES has been very positive. I have been able to interact with other young people from different backgrounds and develop my skills and confidence”.

YES in association with the University of Ulster was recently lauded by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) for their work at the Charity Oscars. The exhibition has been sponsored by the Belfast City Council ‘Celebrate Belfast’.

For further information please contact Christopher Johnston at +44 (0) 77 46956997 or check out the Youth Empowerment Scheme website.

Visit the YES website


Aideen Runs To Stand Still

Aideen Keenan has set a challenge for herself to run the Dublin Ladies’ Mini Marathon in 45 mins to raise funds for Down Syndrome Centre

Aideen Keenan from the Class of 2002 will join thousands of women lining up on Bank Holiday Monday 5th June 2006 to participate in the 10k route through south Dublin.

Having established that she won’t “make a holy show” of herself by successfully competing in two recent races, Aideen will take this challenge on to raise funds for the Down Syndrome Centre.

The Down Syndrome Centre is a registered Irish charity set in 2004 by the parents of children with Down syndrome to fund Ireland’s first national treatment centre for people with this disability.

Aideen says, “My oldest brother Sean was born with a mild form of Down syndrome. Due to many reasons- including the strong will of my parents & Sean's fantastic personality, work ethic and ability to win anybody's heart - Down syndrome has not been a major feature of his life.

Many people are astounded at the fact that Sean - sportsman, socialite and ladies man extraordinaire - is affected with it.”

Aideen has got the ball rolling by pledging €100, and suggests that there are two reasons why people should support and contribute.

“1. Above-named good cause. And 2. My aim is to do the Mini Marathon in 45 mins, so you can all be sure that I will indeed suffer!”

To give you an idea of timing, Sonia O’Sullivan won the race last year in just over 33 minutes, and to break 45 minutes puts a runner into the top 100!

If you would like to support Aideen you can contact her by email.

Email Aideen Keenan


Box Office Success For Children's Charity

Children’s charity the Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) raised £1,500 with the help of big hearted film fans at their annual fundraising event hosted at the Sheridan IMAX movie theatre. Featuring live jazz as well as cinema the special fundraising event was a great night out, according to organiser Niall Hughes of the YES.

The silver screen worked its magic for the Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES), a cross community, multi-ethnic charity set up by students to work as mentors with children aged 11-14.

Featuring live jazz as well as cinema the special fundraising event - billed as ‘A Night at the Movies’ – was a great night out, according to organiser Niall Hughes of the YES.

“A Night at the Movies provided people with an opportunity to learn about the work of YES. The 3D films shown such as ‘Into the Deep’ are particularly appropriate profiles in human endeavour and challenge. They also serve to highlight the diverse world in which we live and the need for everyone to take seriously the responsibilities we have as citizens”

"The cash raised will be used to help us continue weekly mentoring and workshop service to children of diverse ethnic, religious, educational and socio-economic backgrounds from across Belfast."

Also screened during the event was a political broadcast developed by the young YES participants. The broadcast, which is the first of its kind by young people in Northern Ireland, provided important messages about issues faced by childern such as smoking, racism and bullying.

Event Sponsor Peter Holmes, Chief Executive of the Sheridan Group, added: "We are particularly pleased that we can support the good work of a local charity which assists children in learning".


Gardiner Street Gospel Choir And WIPAN Say Thanks

A huge thank you to everyone who made it to the Gardiner Street Gospel Choir gig on Wed 17 May in the Temple Bar Music Centre to raise money for a proposed visit by Mount Lebanon Gospel Choir to Dublin.

One of the members of the Choir and WIPAN member, Cliona Casserly sent this message to WIPAN.

" The concert was a riproaring success with close to 500 people singing dancing and drumming up a storm!

To all who supported us on the night and sent messages of good wishes, thanks so much.

From a very exhilarated and exhausted alto!

Lots of love



WIPAN Summer Dinner In Dublin

Celebrate the beginning of the summer with food and drinks with all the WIP gang!

When? Bank Holiday Monday 5th June @ 7pm

Where? Milano, Dawson Street, Dublin

Let's get as many people from as many years as possible together again for what should be a very pleasant affair!

Why not get in touch with some of your year and make a night of it!

Please confirm whether you can/cannot attend before 22nd May by emailing Grainne.

Email Grainne Mellon


WIPAN Launches On Bebo

WIPAN on Bebo!

WIPAN is now on Bebo!  Check out our homepage for all the latest news.  It's a great way to connect with all alumni, the new Class of 2006 and host families.

The most recent news releases are up in edited format.

Photographs too are posted from the most recent WIP event in Washington DC this past February, to YES International and Conference X in 2004, to albums dedicated to 'WIP meets...' and Host Families.

Since the page was launched on May 5 over 50 alumni, host families and Class of 2006 have signed up.

If you have any suggestions about polls, quizzes, or would like to post up photographs to share please contact Martina Callanan.

Visit the WIPAN Bebo site
Email Martina Callanan, WIPAN PRO


Bebo is a social networking site created to enable friends to stay in contact. 

It has developed into an online community where friends can post pictures, writes blogs and send messages to one another, and is similar in format to MySpace.  The site has been increasing in popularity with over 22 million registered users.  Access has been banned from many third level institutions due to the number of hours students spent on the site, thus preventing the use of computer facilities for academic purposes.

Users create an account (or respond to an invitation), then invite their friends to do the same, so that they can see their account.  Bebo also allows users to post comments in various sections of a user's account such as pictures, blogs and white board.

Bebo has also integrated with Skype, a popular VOIP service


Where Are They Now? - Leo Varadkar (2000)

Continuing in her recent run-down of what's happening some of the old faces of WIPAN, Martina Callanan updates us on Leo Varadkar.

Leo Varadkar is a Fine Gael councillor on Fingal County Council, Dublin, representing the Castleknock ward.

He was born and brought up in the Blanchardstown/ Castleknock area, and works as a medical doctor in Blanchardstown Hospital . 

In 2000 he was a member of the Washington-Ireland Program: Class of 2000, where he interned with Rep. Jack Quinn.

Leo has hit the headlines of the Irish national papers since his comments at last weekend's Fine Gael Ard Fheis criticising the M50 and the voicing the woes of the ordinary Dublin commuter.  Staying on message with Fine Gael's 'Honest leadership' slogan, he hit out at the Minister for Transport with the remark, "I won't trust Cullen to wash my car".

National headlines are nothing new for this Dublin man.  He attracted national attention when he received the highest vote in Ireland in the Local Elections of 2004.  He polled nearly 5,000 votes, nearly twice the quota.  The Sunday Tribune hailed his performance as 'stunning' and identified him as a 'real threat' for the upcoming General Election in 2007.

Leo has been selected to stand in Dublin West where he has a tough battle against Fianna Fáil's Junior Minister Brian Lenihan, Labour finance spokesperson Joan Burton and Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins.

With the hopes of Fine Gael riding high, Leo still has his attention firmly on local issues.   He is currently Vice-Chairperson of the County Council, and a member of the Dublin Regional Authority, the Dublin Transport Office, and the Blanchardstown Area Partnership. 

Leo's priorities as a councillor include proper planning and balanced development; upgrading public transport; and the opening of the new hospital wing in Blanchardstown Hospital.


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