The experiences of young people from St Cecilia’s College on the Peace Bytes programme
At Bytes, the feedback we receive from participants and staff informs how we plan our work and adapt our programmes to changing circumstances. Over the last year this has been more important than ever before, with all of our work being forced to become remote and almost entirely online focused.
Below you can see two typical examples of the experiences of young people on the Peace Bytes programme, compiled by Lee Thomas – a Youth Worker in our Derry-Londonderry team – in March 2021.
Chantell Nixon – St Cecilia’s College Derry-Londonderry, Year 11 Group – (Sept 2020 – Present)
Chantell has been with Peace Bytes since the start of term in September 2020. During this time, she has completed OCN qualifications in Diversity, Active Citizenship and Personal Confidence. Chantell feels the work is not a struggle to complete and said she enjoys the chilled out & relaxed atmosphere of the Peace Bytes sessions. Chantelle likes that she can contact Peace Bytes staff directly on Facebook Messenger if she needs help and has felt supported by our Youth Workers since she started with us.
Asked about how she has changed since the start of the programme, Chantell said she now feels more confident when contributing to our classes and speaking in front of others than when she began her time with us. Her favourite OCN so far has been Diversity, as it made her more aware of diverse members of the community and she knows this will be beneficial if she leaves Derry for university in the future.
During lockdown, Chantell said she enjoyed the Zoom sessions, online virtual games we played and our quiz competitions. She took part in all of the cooking challenges we ran and was appreciative of the care packages that were dropped to her home during the lockdown by the Peace Bytes Team.
‘Chantell has significantly grown in confidence, she is smart, funny and a great participant within Peace Bytes.’
Lee Thomas, Peace Bytes Youth Worker
‘Peace Bytes have supported me really well, they are chilled out, have helped me with my learning and also helped me when I was schooling from home.’
Chantell Nixon, Participant
Teigan Duffy – St Cecilia’s College Derry-Londonderry, Year 11 Group – (Sept 2020 – Present)
Teigan has been with Peace Bytes since the start of term and the brief return to in-person classes in September 2020. Along with the rest of her group, she has completed OCNs in Diversity, Active Citizenship and Personal Confidence during this time.
Teigan did not engage much in the group for the first few months, either with the classwork or in group discussions and activities. She was very quiet, often put her head on the desk and did not interact well with the group. In response to this, Peace Bytes staff spent more 1-on-1 time with Teigan, helping with her work, encouraging her and making efforts to build her confidence. By Christmas, Teigan was engaging more in group work and games, and was much more relaxed within the group, as the above photo of her and Fiona (Peace Bytes Youth Worker) wrapped as Christmas presents in school shows!
During the latest lockdown, Teigan has attended most Zoom sessions and has submitted all her work on time. She said she enjoyed the online Zoom sessions and the virtual games we played with the group. When asked about her favourite thing about Peace Bytes, Teigan said ‘I enjoy the people, they are so easy to talk to’.
‘There has been a massive change in Teigan since September. From not engaging and lacking in confidence, she is now leading the way in the group and setting a brilliant example to the other participants.’
Lee Thomas, Peace Bytes Youth Worker
‘When I look back now, I see that I had no confidence in myself and I didn’t want to do any of the work. Peace Bytes staff helped my confidence and I really enjoy the classes as they are super chilled, fun and the staff are easy to talk to.’