The Day with the Salmon Leap

Late June, Dominic was so kind to take us to one of the places in Donegal where we could actually see the salmon run. Sadly, too few salmon were leaping to catch on camera, but the experience was amazing nonetheless.

Love,

Maria C.

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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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