Exchange students build relationships through Ulster Project

Local News

Ten teenagers traveled from Northern Ireland to the Mahoning Valley to get a chance to build relationships with other teens

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ulster Project is a program designed to bring kids from different backgrounds together.

Ten teenagers traveled from Northern Ireland to the Mahoning Valley to get a chance to build relationships with other teens.

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t judge a person by how they appear. Lots of people I’ve learned have different stories and stuff,” said Fergal Breen, who is from Northern Ireland.

The point of the project is to unite Catholic and Protestant teens, and allow them to engage with and learn from one another.

On Friday, the program had its yearly dinner auction at St. Christine’s in Youngstown. The teens were able to auction off items to raise money for the program.

Each teen who travels from Northern Ireland stays with a host family, which also has a teen in the home. This gives them a chance to get to know others their age.

“I get along really well with the kid staying with me and we all kind of bond together, not just us but the whole group,” said Justin Weingart, who’s in a host family.

The teens have been here since June 26 and will stay until July 26. They participate in different activities and field trips, along with volunteer work.

“Since part of the program is to build peace in our communities, I’ve really noticed that the teens, both the Northern Irish and Americans and the Protestant and the Catholic teens, they all get along. You wouldn’t know which was which,” said Alice Fleming, a counselor from Northern Ireland.

In total, the program has 14 chapters. Four of those chapters are in Ohio.

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