A youth programme which originated in Brazil has come to Newtownabbey thanks to the local PCSP and Northern Ireland Youth Forum (NIYF).
The Fight for Peace project aims to provide an alternative to violence, racism and drugs and is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.
The global programme uses boxing and martial arts, combined with education and personal development, to realise the potential of young people in communities suffering from crime and violence.
NIYF youth workers have selected 20 young people aged from 14-18 years from the Fernagh area to participate in the programme.
Participants work with NIYF staff to focus on their personal development.
This involves exploring their attitudes and values and developing their personal skills.
The programme also focuses on key issues that are affecting young people such as bullying, drug and alcohol misuse and discrimination.
In order to compliment and build upon the personal development aspect of the programme, those involved are introduced to a martial arts programme at the Zanshin Karate Jutsu (ZKJ) Dojo in Mallusk.
Director of NIYF Chris Quinn commented: “All of the young people are engaging extremely well in the programme and we are confident that by the end of this programme we will see significant changes in attitudes, values and beliefs of the young people as well as their choices and consequences moving forward as active citizens in their own communities.”
Chairman of Newtownabbey PCSP Alerman John Blair added: “The Partnership is extremely proud to be able to fund this programme and we hope that the young people will gain the skills and knowledge to make a change in their lives and be in a position to effect change in their own community as mentors and leaders.”
The programme, which began in September, will continue until March 2015. For more information contact PCSP Project Officer Lois Kilpatrick on 028 9034 0011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org