Interview with Hilary McAlea, Project Lead and Deputy Principal St. Corpus Christi National School
Why was The Sky is the Limit programme set up?
There was a huge need in the community to address youth mental health issues for young people that were not being met by statutory bodies. Dr. Declan Ahern, a consultant clinical psychologist offered to support our principal Mr. Tiernan O’Neill to set up the Moyross Education Support Programme, known locally as ‘The Sky Is The Limit programme’.
What impact has Rethink Ireland had on this programme?
Without Rethink Ireland we would not be where we are today. With their support we were able to scale the depth of our impact. Rethink Ireland supported us to develop a business plan and develop our skills in pitching our vision to fundraisers. This led to us raising €0.5 million in funding to build a wellness hub, known as the Corpus Christi Family Centre, on-site in the school which will permanently house all our therapeutic and wellness supports.
What are your plans for the future?
We want to replicate our model in other DEIS schools in Limerick.
What advice would you give to budding social innovators?
Dream big. Take all the advice and support you can get. Be prepared to work hard but with dedicated passion and endless energy, you will succeed.
When my child started in Junior Infants I was homeless, and really struggling to keep everything together. Four years later, Jason, the family support worker has helped me to find a home. Anne Marie from Community Companions supported me to start an access course in Limerick Institute of Technology. My counsellor, Valerie, has taught me to believe in myself again. Claudine, the play therapist has helped my child to express her emotions and the sessions we did together helped to repair our broken relationship. The journey began when Hilary, asked me to join the programme, I have never looked back – Quote from parent