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‘Hope is Alive’ at Oakgrove Integrated College

iFred Founder presents ‘Hopeful Minds’ Certificates 

Founder of iFred Kathryn Goetzke and a team from the Ulster University were the welcome visitors to Oakgrove Integrated College recently where they met with Principal Katrina Crilly, Aislinn Breslin, Student Supporter Officer and Judith Colvin, Learning Support Teacher and students.

Kathryn is the founder of iFred, the International Foundation for Research and Education for Depression and is also part of the Global Mental Health Movement advisory board and has in turn founded the Hopeful Minds Programme for schools.

The group were given a tour of the college and had high praise for the school’s new Nurture Room that was opened recently. 

Speaking after the visit, School Principal Katrina Crilly said she was delighted that Ms. Goetzke took time out to visit Oakgrove and that the visit was a marker for the sterling work being carried out at Oakgrove to ensure mental and emotional education are core in the school programme.

" We were delighted and privileged to host Kathryn Goetzke, founder of Hopeful Minds in school. She is a pioneer for teaching Hope to young people and her visit to our school really cemented the all the work we are doing to ensure that mental and emotional education is at the core of our work.

‘All of our staff have been trained by Marie Dunne in the ‘Hopeful Minds’ programme which is delivered to pupils as part of our nurturing school ethos. Indeed, Marie has been instrumental in embedding the hopeful minds programme in our school not only in Oakgrove Integrated College but across the Northern Trust.’

A number of students at Oakgrove College have been trained in the programme and now act as Hope Ambassadors in the Waterside school. Teaching and instilling hope in the students is seen as vital to their development and indeed survival as they move through what can be very challenging times for many of them.

Continuing, Katrina said: ‘We want to show our young people that in the face of adversity there is always HOPE and at Oakgrove we do much more than tell the pupils this, we help them to develop skills that will enable them to "bounce back" when life's challenges present themselves. Looking after the mental and emotional needs of our pupils is at the core of everything we do and the Hopeful Minds programme is a powerful vehicle through which to do this.

Kathryn and Ulster University team also spent time speaking with Aislinn Breslin, Student Support Officer in the school, in regards to the new Nurture Room that has recently been set up within the school.

Aislinn explained why the Nurture Room was set up and her role: ‘The Nurture Room was set up to provide short term focused intervention in a safe environment, in which students with particular social, emotional and behavioural difficulties can avail of specific support.

‘My role is to provide this support in a one-to-one or small group capacity, to develop knowledge, understanding and skills to manage their own health and well-being. At Oakgrove Integrated College we pride ourselves on being a nurturing school where we focus on the young people’s overall well-being and drive to support the growth and development of each young person.”

 

During her time spent in the school Ms. Goetzke also spoke with Judith Colvin, who had recently completed the 12 weeks ‘Hopeful Minds’ programme with a group of Year 10 Students.  Kathryn and her team also discussed with the students their thoughts and opinions on the programme and how they will use the tools and knowledge learnt over the past 12 weeks. She said was delighted to hear such positive feedback from the students and just how much they enjoyed the Hopeful Minds Programme.

Ms.Goetzke rounded off her visit by then presenting each student with a ‘certificate of completion’ of the Hopeful Minds Programme.

It is hoped this will be only one of a number of new initiatives rolled out over the coming years at the Waterside Integrated College.