There were a few tears of joy among the many smiles last Friday as 31 Chernobyl children arrived to Kilkenny as part of their life-enhancing rest and recuperation programme.
They will spend almost four weeks with their host families in Kilkenny and nearby areas. The scene, at the Orchard House, where children arrived to be welcomed by their families was very emotional for those returning and being reunited with their Kilkenny families.
The children here for the first time were introduced to the families with whom they will stay for the next month. Their apprehension and shyness was soon followed by curiosity and excitement as they embraced the new adventures ahead of them.
For many of the children, it will be their first time to experience simple things such as, swimming, the beach, cinema, restaurants, playgrounds and so forth.
During their visit, the Chernobyl Kilkenny Outreach Group have many outings organised for the children to enjoy ensuring they are given every experience that is possible. The children’s visit to Kilkenny for most is a once in a life time experience.
An old favourite is the day trip to Fota Wildlife in Cork, which never fails to impress, fabulous party organised by Supermacs Kilkenny for the children, a trip to Spashworld and Tramore, a trip to Clara Lara in Wicklow, a barbeque at Dicksboro GAA Grounds and more.
Some of the children joining the Kilkenny group this trip are Genia, who will be staying with his host family the Cullens, and Vasili, who will be joining the Morrisseys. The two Sashas will also be hosted by Kilkenny Outreach Group, whose leader is 2014 Irish Volunteer of the Year Jim Kavanagh.
The Kilkenny Outreach Group fundraise tirelessly, and a huge thanks to everyone who helped in any way to make this happen, for the continuing support of people of Kilkenny, and to the fantastic host families. You create the magic for those vulnerable children. It's a very special and much anticipated time of year for all.