PeacePlayers Is Saying What Everyone Needs To Hear

Emily Meehan, a participant in Peaceplayers’ Bridging Divides and Junior Development Programs, talks about the meaning of friendship in a divided society

June 7, 2023



How did you first become involved in PeacePlayers?

I first became involved in PeacePlayers because my family were all a part of it; and my cousin was an assistant coach, and then the rest of my cousins were participants. And every time they went, they just came home with the most positive things to say about it. And me, I was really young and just wanted to be involved, so I joined and I'm very glad I did.

How do you think your participation in PeacePlayers has helped you in your life?

Photo of girl name Emily Meehan from PeacePlayers Northern Ireland
Photo of youth from PeacePlayers NI team

I think that the lessons that PeacePlayers teaches are really valuable because I think it's important for young people to know that Catholics and Protestants don't have to be separated. You can be friends with whoever you want, and it doesn't matter their religion or their background. People just need to be friends based on personality rather than something as simple as religion. And I think PeacePlayers really shines a light on what friendship is and that people don't need to be sectarian towards each other and everyone should just try and get along and be nice to each other.

How do you feel about the PeacePlayers community?

I think the PeacePlayers community is amazing. Like everyone in it is so positive and uplifting and supportive and like there's never a dull moment. Everyone is just always so kind and like nobody cares what religion you are. Like, everyone tries to get to know you and include you and everything and like there's nothing you can't ask for. In PeacePlayers, everyone's always there for each other.

 How do you feel when you're playing basketball?

Whenever I'm playing basketball, I feel really energetic because it's the only sport I can actually play. I just love being able to play with my team because everyone does get very competitive, but it's fun and everyone just remembers that it's about sportsmanship and we're all there for the same reason. So it's so fun and it's just the best.

What do you get from PeacePlayers that you can't find anywhere else?

The lessons that PeacePlayers teaches. I think that PeacePlayers is saying what everyone needs to hear, because times have changed. And although people may have closed mindsets and not want change, PeacePlayers gives people that push to want to change and educates people and lets them know that things are different now. Catholics and Protestants don't have to be separate; there doesn't have to be a stigma around being ‘mates’ with a Protestant or being ‘mates’ with a Catholic. Like, everyone's the same and nobody has to really look into it anymore. And PeacePlayers really shines a light on what that's all about; looking at people for who they are instead of looking at them for their religion and where they come from.

Why is it important to you and how would your life be different today if it wasn’t for PeacePlayers?

PeacePlayers is important to me because I have made so many friends through the program and PeacePlayers teaches such an important lesson. And if it wasn't for them, then I would be one of those close-minded people who thought twice about being friends with a Protestant or wouldn't be able to challenge someone if they were being close-minded and sectarian. I think the PeacePlayers teaches people a really, really valuable lesson, and some people really do need to hear it because it's not about your religion or where you come from. It's about personality and PeacePlayers really let you know what it's all about.

Group photo of PeacePlayers Youth Basketball Team

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