Busy Days

Hello everyone, Maria G talking. We have been a bit busy these days, so many things happening! First of all, I want to mention the EVS initial training, which took place in July (I know it’s long ago). We spent 4 days in Dublin and we met other volunteers from all around Ireland, it was class! We were able to share our experiences and it also helped us to set some goals for this year and to be a bit more conscious of where we are and why.

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Last week we went to the Time To Move event in Sligo with Kasia. We had to do a presentation in front of everyone about the benefits of being an EVS and our personal point of view. We were so nervous (specially me) but we were great. I’m so proud of us!

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Many things have been going on in YIC as well. We have been promoting our work at the Motley Crow and also in LYIT.

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That’s all folks! I’ll post again soon. I’ll just add a picture I took on my way back home, sunset time!

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PS: I love walking through fallen leaves, it feels like walking the red carpet.

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Party in the park 2018

Hi! This is Marta continuing the last post.

It’s time to talk about The Party In The Park. So long story short: it was a day of good craic but also hard work, and by the way totally worth it. We are running late so Maria C and I take a taxi to the Park, arriving at 9.45h. Maria G is taking the long way and we agree to meet there (can’t remember why). This looks like a classic story tale, but no wolves involved, besides the difficult weather. The previous weeks have led us to this event and it’s an “all hands on deck” kind of situation (that’s an expression I learned that day). Plenty of fences, tables and tents to put together for volunteers and staff (Would it qualify as team building?).

So everything worked well: makeup, braids, games, dancing, with some moments of rain though. But considering that the attendance wasn’t bad and we also had a fantastic time. I took some pictures and helped at some stands. Highlights of the day were the music performances (DJ, many local bands from different backgrounds and even some new ones). At 18h, it was time to finish and the gear needed to be returned. After some more labour work we were tired and Carlyn gave us a lift to the house. Here there are some pictures of that day.

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Summercamp vibes

Hey!

This is Marta writing. What’s the craic? Since it’s my first post on the blog I feel like I should cover so many topics, but I’ll try not to do it all at once, so no worries and thanks for the patience (I keep in mind talking a little about myself in the next posts).

A lot’s been going on in DYS since the 1st of June, when we arrived to Letterkenny: staff team-building trip, LGBTI+ pride in Dublin, EVS on-arrival training, summer camps, the Party in the park… but you already know about some of these events by Maria G and Maria C words so I’m focusing on some new ones: SuMMeRcAmPs!

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Painting the murals (AMP summercamp)

We had many Summercamps, which went on for almost every week. As a volunteer in the LOFT I was involved in some of them. The first was the Multi-activity camp, in which we kept busy cycling by the Glenveagh Castle or with a trip to Waterworld. After that there was Ready Steady Cook, you can imagine what is that about. There was a camp for girls too (Real U) and the day I was in, amazing topics were discussed, such as self-confidence, gender and healthy relationships! Also I collaborated preparing the Art and Music Project summercamp. This was focused on getting ready for the Party in the Park. The young people recorded a promo video using a green screen, also there was “painting inspired by music” supervised by Katie Harley, the wonderful artist that encouraged everyone to use their creativity to paint the murals. And last but not least the RockSchool camp, which led some folk to sing for the first time in public the next week at Party in the Park.

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Mural made through collaboration and the results speak for themselves.

A little bit of tourism

Hello everyone! The girls and I have already been in some beautiful places in Ireland, like Portsalon. We also spent a day in Derry, North of Ireland. What a day! We thought we were missing the bus but we finally didn’t. It was rainy all the way through but it suddenly stopped when we arrived in the city. There is a big wall and Saint Columb’s cathedral which are worth visiting. Here are some of the pictures we took these two days:

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Autumn is coming

Hello there! It’s Maria G writing. I am going to introduce myself a little bit, just like Maria C did in a previous post. I finished my degree in Audiovisual Communication almost two years ago. Last year I started an online master’s degree in Humanities (Contemporary Art, Literature and Culture). Some of my hobbies are painting, photography and TV shows (last but not least). The girls and I are addicted to The Handmaid’s Tale and La Casa de Papel (translated as Money Heist). I am also watching Outlander right now and it’s funny because I understand some words like “wee” thanks to Donegal’s accent.

Regarding my EVS experience, I contacted my sending organization (MUNDUS) in April and I arrived in Ireland the 1st of June, so my recruitment process was quite short. In fact, I did my interview with Kasia (my supervisor at YIC) the 1st of May. When she told me that I was accepted I only had one month to get ready. Three months after arriving here, I reckon I don’t regret the decision I made at all.

I have participated in many interesting activities delivered by YIC such as the Summer Media Group in July. Tara, Patrick and I worked hard on this 4-days filming workshop. The Party in The Park (24th august) was the big event before my annual leave. I went back home (Mallorca) for two weeks to enjoy the beach before the Irish Autumn. Which is certainly coming. Spiders are all over our place but we’re starting to get good at making them leave. At least we don’t scream anymore!

Best regards,

Maria G

PS: Here are some pictures I’d like to post.

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We had a lot of fun at the Party in the Park despite the rain!

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I sent this picture to Kasia while she was in the office (why am I so mean).

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Yesterday I took this picture on my way back home. The cows are gone and now we have sheeps instead. I personally think they are more friendly.

The first day at DYS – meeting the team

On our first day, Kasia, our coordinator and Youth Information Officer in YIC, was kind enough to introduce us to everyone.

Firstly, we met the YIC team: Kasia, Emma, Tara and Dominic. They work at Letterkenny Youth Information Centre. It provides a free, confidential information service to young people and those who work with them, being the only one of its kind in Donegal.

Key Youth Workers: Ciara, Jakie and Yvonne work in Youthscape – a cross community and cross border programme which is young person centred. The programme focuses on 3 key areas: personal development, good relations and citizenship.

Lorraine, the Regional Director, determines the practices of all DYS projects, making sure each runs smoothly. You can tell from a single look she has been instrumental in the Donegal Youth Service development over the years. Maria works in the Finance & Admin Department with responsibility for accounts across the organisation.

In the LOFT office, we met Sinead. She is a champion for LGBT issues and is a team leader for the Breakout Project. Frankie is a skilled trainer and is involved in the day to day running of LOFT Project. LOFT offers support service for young people aged 12-18 to engage themselves in activities, personal development programmes and overcome difficulties in their lives.

Gareth, the Youth Information Manager, and Charlene, the Youth Outreach Manager are responsible for the Letterkenny Youth Information Centre, LOFT, Donegal Youth Council, Youth Clubs, Breakout Project and the Daybreak Programme.

Laura is responsible for working with affiliated youth clubs across the county, and is with DYS since the beginning of the year, after 4 years of working with a youth organization in Canada. Layla works across the organisation with social media, digital media, fundraising, digital marketing and PR.

Louise is the coordinator of Youth Talk Donegal – a free and confidential one to one support service for young people aged 12-25 years. Young people experiencing difficulty in their life can avail of this support to help them cope with issues such as bullying, sexuality, family conflict, problems at school or friendship/relationship difficulties or anything else they may be struggling with.

Lee is responsible for the Community Employment Project. He supervises DYS 18 current CE participants that are spread geographically throughout the County in different projects.

Claire and Michelle are both Youth Workers in Daybreak – an individually tailored programme to support young people to remain in education and it builds on the strengths of the young people to support their personal and academic goals.

And last but not least, I met my supervisor, Carlyn. She is the coordinator of Donegal Youth Council – the project that I will be working on for a full year. DYC is a group of 32 young people from every corner of Donegal, from each of the 26 secondary schools in the County, from different youth clubs and organisations around the County like Foroige, Donegal Youth Service or Donegal Travellers Project. They develop and implement projects aimed to make the life of young people in Donegal better.

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Our first photo together

Everyone told us not to get used to the sunny weather, which it won’t last for long. We refused to believe them at the time, and right we were, because the good weather lasted for almost all summer. We barely had a day of rain in the first two months here.

Love,

Maria C.

P.S.: DYS team actually has more members, but they were not all present on the day we arrived, therefore they are not mentioned above. Feel free to get acquainted with the DYS team here.

The first sunset in Letterkenny

Maria C. here ❤ I’ll start with a short introduction about myself, just to have a wee bit of context. Born and bred in Bacau, Romania, I studied and lived in Bucharest for 5 years. Passionate about youth work, I am campaigning for civic engagement and shaping positive youth development. It was my last chance to take this opportunity, because you need to be under 30 to be an EVS and I am 29. These are the main reasons for why I am here. Also, I wanted a full year with no responsibilities whatsoever. As you probably know, DYS covers all EVS expenses such as rent, utilities, etc.

I live in a beautiful house with two lovely young ladies: Maria G. and Marta from Spain; the day-to-day activities at DYS are engaging and everyone very kind; my supervisor – Carlyn, coordinator – Kasia and mentor – Dominic are nothing but great – so only fairy tale dust so far!

I will try to be concise in showing you how things are here by sharing bits and pieces of my life from my first day here: 1st of June. Chances are I will be posting mostly pictures 📷

I will leave you our first sunset in Letterkenny, from the night all 3 of us arrived here.

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Sunset over the bus station in Letterkenny

Love,

Maria C.

Dublin Pride Parade

Hello agaaain, still Maria G talking. Another remarkable adventure was going to the Pride Parade in Dublin. We were at the launch of the first National Youth LGBTI Strategy, with the Minister of Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone. It was so emotive because this Strategy establishes procedures to make LGBTI young people feel included in many aspects of society such as education. It’s an improvement and something to feel proud of, not only as an Irish achievement also as human beings. There’s still a long path ahead us but at least we are trying to move forward. On Saturday 30th of June we met with the rest of youth work organizations at the Youth Work Ireland headquarters. We had breakfast and then got prepared for the Parade. Anyone could feel the good vibes. We sang Lady Gaga’s songs, Cher’s songs, and so many other hymns and danced until the party was over.

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Team building at Inch Wildfowl Reserve

Hey there! It’s Maria G talking. Since we came the 1st of June sooooo many things happened, but I will try to summarize some of them. The first big event was a day-trip to the Inch Wildfowl Reserve the 7th of June. Almost all of the staff in DYS participated. We were about 30 people. We could realize how big is our organization and we were able to chat a bit with some of the DYS workers. It also was a great opportunity for the three of us to take some pictures and enjoy the nice weather, it was incredibly sunny. After the walk we went to Grianan of Aileach, a very ancient building where we took even more pictures, the views are astonishing up there. Finally, we had lunch all together. It was a nice experience and a very friendly welcoming for us.

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