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Alliance Area Ulster Project returns after 3-year hiatus
By Benjamin Duer, The Repository,
Eight teens, ages 14 to 17, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, will stay with U.S. families.
The project promotes parity between Roman Catholics and Protestants from Northern Ireland.
The Alliance chapter is holding an online auction to raise funds.
ALLIANCE − A melting pot experience for Northern Ireland teens returns June 26 to the Carnation City.
Alliance Area Ulster Project − which promotes parity between Roman Catholics and Protestants − invites eight Northern Ireland teens to stay with local U.S. host families and interact between faiths.
The experience starts June 26 and ends July 17. There will be four boys and four girls, ages 14 to 17, from Belfast. Both faiths will be present. The group will mingle, participate in joint activities and attend each other's church.
Rebecca Umberger, chairperson for the Alliance Area Ulster Project, said Roman Catholics and Protestants remain potently divided in Northern Ireland and this project tries to break down those barriers.
"We might not hear of bombings (now)," she said, "but they still don't intermix. They don't have that melting pot in Northern Ireland."
Umberger said the goal of the project is that the teens become friends with members of the opposite faith and return to Northern Ireland with more tolerance, helping to reshape and reduce the division in their communities.
In the meantime, the Alliance Area Ulster Project plans an online auction to raise funds and is accepting applications for host families and U.S. counselors to be part of the experience.