FROM SEACOAST ONLINE: A group of teenagers from Greater Belfast in Northern Ireland participating in the Friends Forever International program were brought out to Star Island for an evening picnic and tour, courtesy of Seacoast Maritime Charters on Friday.
They are staying in the Seacoast as part of the program and take in the hospitality and opportunities for team building in an effort to break down barriers between the Catholic and Protestant students whose country has been plagued with internal strife for generations. The Durham, NH-based Friends Forever International runs the program that aims to improve relationships among the teenagers of Northern Ireland. The nonprofit also brings together teenagers from the Middle East.
Stephen Martineau is the director of Friends Forever International, which was founded in Durham 1986. The nonprofit organization relies on individuals, businesses and civic organizations for funding. It does not accept any government funding. Martineau said the Friends Forever International model has relied on the Seacoast community for the last three decades, but not simply for financial support.