When Gerard Cullen talks about City Connects, he talks about the importance of keeping students at the center of the work we do.
Cullen, the program manager for City Connects in Dublin, Ireland, explains this in a video posted by Ireland’s Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
“One of the things City Connects does every year is we survey the children [about] what their interests are,” Cullen says. “We’re surveying children from junior infants to sixth class. And I was blown away the first year – and the results were the same second year – [by] what those interests are. I would never have believed in the Northeast Inner City in Dublin the number one interest was swimming. The second highest interest was Lego. Arts and crafts and cookery were there.”
“By having that list of interests, we can then use that to approach the different community partners – whether it’s Dublin City Council or whether it’s a local youth club – and say, Listen, this is what the children want. And I keep giving credit to all of the community groups in the Northeast Inner City. They have not been found wanting when they see that this is what the need is.”
“And when you said, How does it all work? or what’s the secret for making it all work – [it’s] if we keep the child at the center of the room. At the end of the day, all of us want to improve their lives.”
To hear more, please watch the video.