Kildare and Wicklow ETB Newsletter Issue 10 Learn, Work, Live - Page 26

PORTRAIT OF AN UNASSUMING ARTIST

As St. Patrick came to Ireland to drive the snakes out of Ireland, Padraig came to Arklow Youthreach to inspire and to transform the lives of our students. Padraig was destined to get a job in Youthreach as he has a unique connection to young people.

Padraig Redmond (commonly known as Podge) has been working in Arklow Youthreach for nearly two decades. Originally, he came to the centre to teach Metalwork but throughout his time, he has taught many modules including drawing. However, the most important thing has never been what he was teaching, the critical thing is how he has taught and how he is in the centre.

He motivates students with gentle suggestions and almost unconsciously, they gain an insight not only about life in general but also into their own lives. Students who are not in sessions, can almost always be found in the Art Room with Padraig. He offers them a non-judgemental and comforting environment where students can work through their issues and then move on independently.

He is an advocate for the students and his classic mantra to the staff body is always that ‘we are producing human beings not cardboard boxes’. He sees each and every student as an individual and this develops their self-confidence. To be in his presence is both positive and awe inspiring. He is always willing to go the extra mile, putting students’ needs before his own.

“My Youthreach experience wouldn’t be the same without Podge. Anytime I needed to talk to someone or about something that was going on I would talk to Podge and he would help.”

Current Youthreach Student

For students and staff alike, he continues to be an inspiration. As he is celebrated a very special birthday this year on St Patricks Day, the staff and students, both present and past want to wish him the very best and want him to continue doing what he does best…. being himself!

“He would brighten up anybody’s day”

“He fights for you and is always on your side”

“He cares for our wellbeing and has a genuine respect for us”

“There is always a friendly smile and greeting and everyone loves going to his session”