The trip was 3,620 miles - but well worth it.
Teens from Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, made the trek to Fort Mitchell, Northern Kentucky to serve as volunteers at Redwood for a day last week.
Redwood is a nonprofit, special needs facility and services some 800 clients from six-weeks of age to 85 years old.
And the Ulster Project Cincinnati, which has hosted teens from Enniskillen, since 1989, gave Redwood a day they’ll never forget.
“Our Northern Ireland guests were just wonderful,” said Redwood’s Volunteer Coordinator, Brittany High. “They interacted one-on-one in our children’s classrooms; helped clean and sanitize our equipment and helped us prepare for our 4th of July parade by decorating our Redwood bus.”
The teens come for the month of July and live with host teens and their families; Enniskillen teens are paired with Cincinnati host teens of the same sex and age.
The idea is that they learn to appreciate and respect one another’s differences here on neutral ground. During the month, all the teens (both Northern Irish and American) participate daily in a variety of service projects, social activities, and discussion groups.
“It was a day of sharing as well as bonding,” High said. “To see our Northern Ireland guests, interact and bond with our clients was something very special.”