Since our creation in 1982, The Irish Children's Program of Rochester has sponsored the visitation of an equal number of Catholic and Protestant children trom Belfast, Northern Ireland to the greater Rochester area each summer. We hope to foster our guiding principal of "peace through understanding."
The I.C.P. is administered by our all-volunteer Board of Directors. New participants in our Program do not pay the airfare for the children they will host. "All we ask of our Host Families, in addition to assistance with some fund-raising events, is "love, room and board." The I.C.P. Board of Directors works all twelve months of the year to raise the necessary money to bring Belfast children to the United States.
Our program would not exist without the help and hard work of our Belfast counterparts. The Belfast Board of Directors is made up of dedicated Northern Irish teachers and parents who believe that the future can be better for their children and their children's children. Over the years we have raised funds through various creative methods. The Irish Children's Program has gone from selling candy bars and wrapping paper to our current means of raising money through the sale of carnations at Rochester area malls and our Annual Benefit Concert and Silent Auction.
The Irish Children's Program uses funds not only to pay for the air fare for our Belfast visitors, but to provide them with a fun and entertaining summer. In the past, our summer events have included a day at Seabreeze Amusement & Water Park, Red Wings Baseball, Raging Rhinos Soccer games, ice skating, miniature golf and of course our traditional Opening and Closing Picnics.
Our program has touched the lives of generations of Northern Irish and their American host families. The bonds that are made between the two last a lifetime and provide the seeds for more tolerant generations to come.