Category Archives: News

“We need more mentors!”

A great problem to have! The uptake for our RISE mentoring at Mount Carmel Secondary School in Dublin tripled from 5 last year to 15 this year.

“I know how to set goals for myself that I can achieve.”

“Mentoring was amazing, motivating and fun!”

“I thought it was going to be boring, but it was fun, enjoyable and interesting.”

That 15 of the 36 girls who completed the RISE leadership programme before Christmas have asked for mentoring demonstrates their enthusiasm and commitment to their school and local community and to their own development. As mentors, we have an exciting opportunity to help guide and encourage these 16-year-olds to reach their goals which range from developing a comprehensive CV to finding a way to connect with their local community groups and build a strong social network.

We are grateful for the students from IBI (our office neighbours) who have volunteered to be mentors.

In the first session we help the students to focus on identifying a clear and specific goal they want to work towards and some of the steps that will help them get there. What we have noticed is that not only are they getting some guidance from us but we have seen a lot of additional help coming from the other mentees, their peers,  who often have fascinating insights into the challenges they are facing.

“I’ve learned that there are more opportunities available than I thought to reach my goal.”

“I learned that it is good to create steps to your goal to make it more realistic.”

“Planning things out is less stressful.”

It is a joy for us to see students begin this mentoring journey unsure of what will happen and already by the end of week 1 see them excited and more confident in what they want to achieve. One girl’s response to the end of the first session was that she, “learned how to plan and visualise realistic goals,” with many others commenting that they felt more confident as a result of participating in the mentoring session.

We look forward to seeing how these student’s journey’s progress over the weeks ahead!

 “Mentoring opened my mind to seek help with applying for courses.”

“I know where to ask now to get help with my goal.”


We Are Moving

Innovista Ireland is on the move.

The building we have shared office space in with Holy Trinity Church for five happy years in Rathmines was sold and we had to move out.

We are thankful to Holy Trinity for their friendship, partnership and generosity over the past few years.

Our new office is in the city centre close to one of the schools where we deliver our RISE leadership programme. We are looking forward to getting to know our new neighbours IBI, Tearfund Ireland and Christian Unions Ireland.

Our new address is:

Innovista Ireland
Ulysses House
22-24 Foley Street
Dublin 1

Come in and see us!

Tempo – cooking for the community

cooking croppedFreda (a chef, pictured above) and Denise (a radiation therapist) have just finished Tempo in Dublin. As members of their church mission team responsible for la variety of different projects, they started Tempo unsure of where their focus should be. Working through the mission and context module, Freda and Denise highlighted the number of older people living alone and low income families in the area around their church. Two particular issues that became clear on further research were loneliness and the need for meal ideas that are healthy and affordable.

Just before Christmas they held their first ‘Meals for a fiver’ cooking class for the local community – prepared with locally available ingredients.

We’re excited by the potential as Freda, Denise and their church serve some very real needs in their local community and build relationships with people, many of whom rarely darken the door of a church.

Tempo equips leaders with the skills and character to lead local mission that brings hope and transformation to their local community. We currently have groups running in Dublin and Coleraine. Tempo runs in towns and cities and also with teams from the same church. To find out more click here.

Mentoring Inner City Teenagers

Have you ever had someone whom you looked up to sit down and spend time with you? Invest in you? Believe in you? Give you the courage to believe you could do more, be more, achieve more?

As a team we know that we wouldn’t be the people we are today if it wasn’t for people who did that for us. We are extremely thankful for those who have mentored us, listened to and prayed for us.


Growing up in an environment where addictions and poverty are common, many young people in inner city Dublin lack mentors: people to invest in them and give them responsibility don’t feature strongly in many of their lives. It is unsurprising that many feel trapped in a cycle of hopelessness, of repeating the patterns of those who have gone before them.

But imagine a different future. A future where young people, no matter what part of the city they are born in and grow up in, have older, wiser guides. Positive role models who are for them, who will encourage them, who are committed to them becoming all they were created to be. Imagine a future where young people from the inner city are known, not for the limitations they face, but for their resilience and creativity and making positive contributions not just to their peers and community but also to the city, to culture and to Ireland as a whole.

As we’ve delivered our 10 week RISE leadership programme and community project in schools and youth groups we’ve been encouraged by young leaders like Conor. He recognised that cleaning up the community wasn’t enough, instead people needed to respect each other and their community more.

But a 10 week leadership programme for 40-60 minutes a week with 25 teenagers can only achieve so much. We want to see more. Much more. Lasting change requires deeper relationships. For that reason we are adding a mentoring programme, to give young people the positive role models that they need to increase their engagement at school and be positive influences among their peers.

This autumn, in partnership with a north inner city youth project, we want to pilot one-to-one mentoring with a group of teenagers who have taken part in the RISE leadership programme.
As we look back we are amazed, thankful and humbled that, thanks to the generosity of our supporters 200 teenagers have carried out community projects in 15 locations over the past 18 months through RISE.

Providing mentoring for one young person will cost €540. That’s €45 a month over a year, so that young people in inner city Dublin can experience the benefits of mentoring that many of us have enjoyed. To give regularly or to give a one-off gift click here.

Giving in to Hope

HOPEWhat is it that you give in to during the week before Christmas? Those sweets, chocolates, and biscuits that you wouldn’t normally eat? The anger at people who just won’t get out of your way? The pleading eyes of your children when they see a new toy they want? The wishful thinking that this Christmas your family will get along? Hope that this will be the best Christmas ever?

Everywhere we look we are reminded that this season is unlike any other time of the year. We aren’t in New York and yet bright lights fill the city night. We get drawn into their fairytale world of wonder. Window displays welcome us to wintery worlds filled with joy and laughter. Together they call us to a happy Christmas. They declare peace to the world and good will to all people. These good wishes are remnants of hope realised when a baby, the promised Saviour, was born 2000 years ago. Even the Christmas songs being played in our shopping malls and restaurants quote the prophesies and promises about what Jesus came to do. We are surrounded by the invitation to hope again.

Hope changes things. A longing for better things based on real possibility motivates us to make choices that make us better people. It challenges us to picture a future where there is peace, joy, and generosity.

Imagine a Christmas week during which your whole community chose to give in to hope. This isn’t just any hope. It is the hope that Jesus was God with us. It is the hope that Jesus is still God with us, allowing us to live perfectly loved and accepted with the One who created us. It is the hope that one day Jesus will bring a final end to pain and sorrow. The hope that everything will be made new. What if we gave into this hope?

The Santas Have Dashed!

SD2013Last Sunday on a fresh and sunny morning, our six Santa Dashers set foot on Dublin’s North Bull Island beach. Complete with beards and suits we ran to raise funds for our RISE programme, equipping teenagers to bring positive change to their communities.

We’re grateful for the generosity of all who have given so far and helped us raise just over €600. We’d love to see that grow to €1000 which would enable us to invest in more teenagers in January. If you’d like to help us reach that target you can donate here.

To read more about how teenagers are impacting their communities in Dublin this Christmas, check out our latest post here.

Check out the rest of the Santa Dash photos here.

New Team Members – Introducing Liesel

Liesel hopeWith eight years’ experience of working with teenagers from difficult inner-city environments, training and managing volunteers and running summer camps at Dublin Christian Mission (DCM), we feel privileged to welcome Liesel Reimer to the team at Innovista.

Liesel moved to Dublin in 2005 having grown up in British Columbia, Canada, attended college in Alberta and worked for 18 months in Switzerland. As a missionary with EMCC World Partners in Canada, she came to Dublin to take up the post of Youth Work Coordinator at DCM. She recently received her Irish citizenship.

We’re excited about the energy, expertise and experience Liesel has already brought to the team and the contribution she will make as a trainer for RISE and Tempo. We asked her a few questions:

What brought you to join Innovista?
A few years ago, one of our interns at DCM rang me to ask if I would commit to praying for her while she participated in Tempo. I was really impressed with how incredibly practical Innovista’s leadership training was. Last year a meeting with Ashleigh confirmed my belief in the vision of Innovista. I knew the areas that God was calling me into further and realised that a change of venue would need to take place in order to move more fully into those areas. So here I am!

What are you passionate about?
My heart starts to race with excitement when I am gifted with the opportunity to connect with people and show them with all I do and say just how uniquely important they are – that the truest and deepest parts of them are seen and accepted by the one who Created them. In this environment change is sparked and they begin to believe that they also have the potential to shape the community and world around them.

What have been some of the biggest influences on your leadership journey?
I met with her nearly once a day for every year from age 9 through 17. She taught me about friendship, confidence, caring for people, problem-solving, and being proactive in making the world a better place … yes, one of the first women who inspired my leadership was Nancy Drew! During my late teens and early 20s I had a lot of people in positions of authority who saw potential in me and encouraged it even if they didn’t share the same beliefs as me – they are too numerous to name but have shaped how I believe in and encourage others! In more recent years, I have fumbled my way through leading others and learning how to lead more effectively. During this journey there have been different “experts” I have gone to with specific questions. Their wisdom and advice has taught me about the importance of life-long learning, asking the questions, and being available for others.

What 3 things have inspired you recently?
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
The Director of EMCC World Partners, Sandra Tjart
Changes that Heal by Henry Cloud

Liesel has been plunged in at the deep end helping Ashleigh lead RISE with 22 transition year (16yr old) girls in Mount Carmel school in north inner city Dublin.

We have two other RISE groups running and a fourth about to start in Ballymun.

RISE is gaining momentum and credibility. Recently we had the opportunity to present RISE to Dublin’s north inner city education committee. We are excited by teachers and community workers becoming advocates for how we are practically equipping teenagers to bring hope to their communities.