August 14th Meeting

President Mindy introduced this evening's guest speaker: Portsmouth Rotarian, Briana Carrigg who is Director of Programs & Development for Friends Forever.


From their web site (

“Founded in 1986, by Rotarian and YMCA director, Robert Raiche, Friends Forever began as a joint Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based YMCA/Rotary effort to unite one small group of Catholic and Protestant teens from Northern Ireland. Since that time, Friends Forever has grown to host 60 youth from Northern Ireland annually. Friends Forever also expanded to serve the Arab and Jewish youth of Israel, and in 2010 it introduced a domestic conflict resolution program that works with African teen immigrants in the Manchester, New Hampshire school districts. “

Briana emphasized that they are supported by Rotary. In addition, 9 of their Board of Directors are Rotarians. “Over 1,000 youth leaders from Ireland and Israeli have graduated from the Friends Forever program.  The program enables selected teens to break the cycle of violence and lead their communities in peaceful coexistence.”

 They select the best and brightest from these historically conflict-prone geographies and start them on a year-long comprehensive training program that begins with a two-week team-building course in New England. Ropes courses, hiking, public speaking, technology sessions, local high school visits, community service and family nights; they teach what you can't learn in a classroom -- that everyone is the same on the inside. Respect, understanding and compassion are the cornerstones of what these teens take back with them.

After they return home, they are required to maintain active contact ( "perpetuation" phase) with their new friends for 8 months to create lasting change.

Their annual budget is $400,000. It costs $25,000 per group of 13.