DIT students learn with Home-Start Blanchardstown

21 October 2009

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Tea and Friends – Home-Start Blanchardstown celebrating 21 years of service.”          

Home-Start Ireland is a voluntary organisation in which volunteers offer regular support, friendship and practical help to families with young children, in their own homes, helping to prevent family crisis and breakdown.

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DIT student Lynn Sullivan, Joan Ashbrook Co-ordinator of Home-Start Blanchardstown,
Minister Brian Lenihan, Anna Lynch Founder of Home-Start Blanchardstown, TD Joan Burton

In 2008 Home-Start staff approached lecturer Anne Fitzpatrick of the School of Social Sciences and Law to discuss how they might cooperate to mark twenty-one years of Home-Start in Blanchardstown and together they decided that a book documenting the experiences of mothers, fathers and volunteers over the years would be a fitting tribute.

So as part of the BA Early Childhood Education programme, 39 3rd year students taking the ‘Working With Families’ module collected the stories in interview style during an informal gathering of Home-Start parents and volunteers in Blanchardstown. Karl O’Doherty, a fourth year BA Journalism student then very generously, and on a voluntary basis, edited the stories. For her final project on the MA in Professional Design Practice, student Gina Honeyman designed the book and prepared it for publication. The interdisciplinary project was coordinated by lecturer Anne Fitzpatrick and supported by DIT’s Students Learning With Communities Programme.

On Monday 21st September Home-Start celebrated its 21st birthday and the beautiful publication Tea and Friends, with a foreword by Tony Bates, was launched. Lynn Sullivan spoke on behalf of the BA Early Childhood Education students. She spoke of how much she and her classmates enjoyed this novel learning experience. As a result of this project they developed a greater awareness of the needs of families and an appreciation for the help Home-Start offers families of many different cultures and backgrounds.

Congratulations to all for a very successful Students Learning With Communities project.

Further information

The book was featured in the Irish Times on September 29th 2009 - click here to read.

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