WXXI AM News

Connections: Fostering peace through the Irish Children's Program of Rochester

Feb 7, 2019

The Irish Children's Program of Rochester has hosted Catholic and Protestant children from Belfast since 1982. The goal of each summer program is to foster peace through understanding, where children from different religious backgrounds have a chance to interact, build friendships, and understand each other as equal human beings.

While the climate in Northern Ireland is no longer as violent as it was during the decades-long conflict known as "the Troubles," many neighborhoods around Belfast are still dominated by one religious group or another, and children are often taught to stay away from neighborhoods with which they don't identify.

This hour, we sit down with members of the Rochester program to discuss how the lessons it teaches to children from Belfast can be applied in today's polarized American society. In studio:

  • Robert Tucker, president of the Irish Children's Program of Rochester
  • Jennifer DiGaetano, host parent for the Irish Children's Program of Rochester 
  • Anna DiGaetano, host sibling for the Irish Children's Program of Rochester
  • Clare Mercer, president of the Belfast Board for the Irish Children's Program of Rochester