Hip! Hip! Hooray! Preparing for Life celebrated 14 years of its Home Visiting programme recently by inviting families who took part in the programme fourteen years ago to a party in The Bell Building, Darndale.
Dozens of families joined in the celebrations, including skincare tutorials, comedy, music, refreshments, raffles and talks. Many families were from the original programme were reunited with their Home Visitors, who they had not seen in almost a decade.
Local musician and Preparing for Life participant, Sharyn Ward, sang for an enraptured audience. She spoke of her experience of motherhood and how the Home Visiting programme supported her in nurturing her children while building her own confidence.
Comedian Willa White treated the audience to belly laughs and also spoke about his experience of coming from a similar community in Ballymun. In conversation with local resident and Belters Only DJ, Robbie G and Willa both spoke of how positive influences from within their community helped them to make often difficult choices that have led to their success in their respective careers and lives.
Also present on the day was a group of researchers from the UCD Geary Institute. These researchers have followed the progress of the Preparing for Life Home Visiting children and evaluated the programme when the children have reached age 5 and age 9. The research shows that Preparing for Life's Home Visiting programme had a significant impact on children's cognitive function. These children had improved diet, fewer hospital visits and better academic outcomes. Headed by Dr. Orla Doyle, the team are preparing another evaluation now that the children have reached 14 years. Many families who attended the celebration have signed up to partake in the research.
The Preparing for Life team love a good party and are very grateful to everyone who made the celebration a wonderful event, including the families, the speakers and entertainers, and the staff in the Bell Building.