Glasgow with the Girls

Because having your birthday here is no ordinary thing, Maria turned 24 in Glasgow. We thought there is no better city to celebrate properly! The most populous city in Scotland, it took us by surprise with it’s amazing architecture, intricate street art and cosy restaurants. Definitely recommended!

❤,

Maria C.

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One last trip around North Donegal

Hey!

This weekend we had an amazing day outdoors. We had the opportunity on Sunday to explore some beaches, heads, and other scenary in north Donegal. Special thanks for the generosity, ride and great company of the locals 😉 We plan to return the favor one day whenever someone visits our home country.

To the rythm of ABBA tunes we went to the Murder Hole Beach (walking across a field guarded by huge cows and a bull, where we still could find a big mark on the ground made out of stones, put there for the aircrafts at World War 2). We had lunch at a wee place close to Downings. We also saw The Ards Forest, the charming beach of Portnablah and strolled along Dunfanaghy and the Ross Head (at one side we were able to see the Fanad and Malin Heads and at the other side the islands).

It was a very much enjoyed day!

Love,

Marta

 

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European Youth Week 2019. Democracy&Me @ YIC Letterkenny

Screenshot-2019-05-02-at-13.03.51European Youth Week takes place every two years. It celebrates and promotes activities targeted at young people through events organised in all countries participating in the Erasmus+ programme. In addition to the Brussels flagship events, hundreds of activities and events were organised locally. The ‘Democracy and Me’ Workshop in YIC Letterkenny was one of them.

It took place on the 2nd of May in the Youth Information Centre, and was facilitated by me, with the help of Maria, Marta, Zoe, Emma and Kasia. The young people present were in for an afternoon of interactive activities about the meaning of democracy and the ways that people can take part in the decisions that affect the way their community is run.

DEAR DEMOCRACY

The session started with a wee debate on what democracy is. The word “democracy” is one of the most recognized and misunderstood terms in the English language, therefore it is safe to say that truly understanding “democracy” begins with questions and conversation. The 3 minute motivational video, developed by The Arizona State University Center for the Study of Race and Democracy set an inspiring tone for the next activity.

FINDING DEMOCRACY

The goal of this activity was to see into the essence of democracy – realizing that one does not have to go far to find democracy, it is here around us. Every participant had to “find democracy”. They could use whatever material they wanted from the ones provided. After everyone was finished, we did a mock voting process of their creations. The first 3 with the most votes won cool prizes such as travel books, diaries, tea mugs and a 20 euro One4all gift voucher. Needless to say everyone was excited about that!

The event we organised during European Youth Week with the help of Léargas was a chance to let young people  find out more about democracy and the voting process. The workshop was a success, everybody working and supporting each other ❤

Love,

Maria C.

April’s daytrips

Hey,

What’s the craic? Marta here writting this time. We have some weeks left of the EVS (now called ESC) to enjoy and many things going on. April’s been a month of trips for me with differents groups in which I’ve been participating along the year and a good opportunity to get away from the office and see more of this green county Dún na nGall (did you know it means “fort of the foreigners”)

With the Young Carers we went North to Limavady. Young carers from around Donegal enjoyed a complete activity day with laser tag, clay pigeon shooting (no clay pigeon was harmed during the activity) and hovercrafting. I cannot tell you how sore my legs were the days after. Another trip was to Bundoran’s funfair. Even if it looked closed there was no need for a plan B, as we were just a little bit early, at around 12.30pm. The Art group took part in the Young Citizenship Awards for which we submitted a Loft Positive Calendar made by the young people and their chosen inspiring quotes. The venue was huge and outside of Dublin, so we left very early in the morning to be able to make it on time. It was flat out and with many activities (also a wish tree) and stands to walk around.

Cheers,
Marta

European Youth Week in Brussels

European Youth Week brought together young people, project participants, youth organisations and policy-makers in an European event held in Brussels at the European Parliament on 29th and 30th of April. It was organised by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture in partnership with the European Parliament and involving other Directorates-General of the European Commission. Maria G. and I had the opportunity to represent Léargas at the event, along with Vasiliki from Crooked House Theatre Company, Emma and Paul, both from Depaul.

The launch of the European Youth Week was filled with artistic performances, #EUandMe tent activities and an exhibition of exemplary projects on democracy from Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps 2014 – 2020. Maria and I were both taken by surprise to find the DYS volunteering project printed on a banner bigger than us! Getting to explore what projects the other countries were engaged in made us aware of the incredible effort put into making a change in the European community.

The 2 days youth event was filled with break-out sessions meant to make young people mindful of how important it is to get involved in their community. Following the launch, I participated in ‘How can the European Parliament better support and communicate with educators?’ – a discussion with teachers or non-formal educators on what tools would we need to better educate young people on democratic participation & what obstacles have we encountered when talking about it. The session was engaging, everyone present got to share their ideas on how to make the communication on democracy with young people easier.

‘THIS TIME ME AND MY FRIENDS ARE VOTING’

The second day began with an interactive session in the Hemicycle of the European Parliament to discuss how to make a difference. It felt inspiring to see the courage and determination when talking on subjects that matter to them. To stand up and have a say in how our future will look like represents one of the first steps for change. The ‘DEMOCRACY AND ME’ flagship event that followed was a moderated debate about democratic participation, all of us present being invited to share our own stories.

‘MAKING A CHANGE MEANS THE EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY CORPS’

Latter in the day, Commissioner Navracsics hosted a debate to gauge the impact of the European Solidarity Corps for young people, NGOs and local communities. The event showed how much it has already achieved in the first 2 years of its existence, allowing young people to learn and experience what it is like to be a volunteer or contribute to society as a trainee or young worker.

Yo!Fest – the biggest youth political festival in Europe

The biggest youth political festival in Europe took place outside the Parliament. It was organised by the European Youth Forum and their member organisations. From the packed programme of activities and entertainment, the Digital Activism stood out to us with some very interesting workshops on digital democracy, how to spot fake news, best practices for political campaigning & civic engagement. Time well spent!

Walking around Brussels

Although our schedule was pretty full, we still managed to take a few hours to stroll around the city. Admiring the impressive architecture of Grand Place, eating chocolate at one of the wee chocolateries in Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert or admiring the views from Mont des Arts Gardens made the trip even more enjoyable.

Time flew very quickly and it wasn’t long until we arrived home, giving us time to reflect on all the events we got to participate in. With the European Elections on 23-26 May being right around the corner, celebrating the youth week @the European Parliament with our peers from all over the world was a good reminder of how change is brought about in a democracy – by voting.

❤,

Maria C.

Bundoran for Easter

Having 2 days off DYS for Easter, seemed like a good idea to book a wee trip to Bundoran. Donegal’s most southerly town and Ireland’s premier seaside resort is aptly nick-named “Fundoran” due to its excellent surfing and family friendly amusements and activities 😃 We did not adventure that much, instead we took our time to explore the Fairy Bridges and the beaches the Irish coastline has to offer.

Needles to say, it was amazing, felt like summer was right around the corner!

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Love,

Maria C.

‘The Greatest Show’ Celebration Event [Photo Gallery]

Donegal Youth Service’s annual ‘Celebration Event’ took place this year on Thursday the 11th of April in An Grianán Theatre. The annual event aims to highlight the achievements of young people, volunteers, youth clubs and Donegal Youth Service Projects from the past year.

This year the theme was ‘The Greatest Showman’ and it was chosen because the message of the film is something that is very close to our hearts. Being unique&different is portrayed in a positive way and society should be able to accept everyone as they are.

All 3 of us had the honor to be interview on stage by the amazing host, Kai McHugh. Also, we were part of the media team and we were in charge of immortalizing the event throughout the night, under Layla’s direct supervision ❤ Check out the photo gallery below!

Love,

Maria C.

Berliners for five days and spring welcoming

Hello everyone! Maria G talking. It’s been long since I last posted, so here I am. First things first, Maria, Marta and I travelled to Berlin not long ago and it was amazing.

For 28 years the city was divided in two parts due to the famous wall, so at that time there were two cities coexisting. You can feel the history of this place in every step you take. It surprised me that in some neighbourhoods all the clocks seem to have stopped in the sixties, the vintage aesthetics are undeniable. Alexander Platz, the Museum Island, Brandenburg Gate, Tiergarten Park, the East side Gallery, Postdamer Platz, the Sony Centre and the Berliner Philharmonie nearby… All these places are worth a visit, and the list could go on and on. We went to see the most beautiful woman in the world, as some have described her, Nefertiti, in the Neues Museum. In the Alte Nationalgalerie I had the chance to admire works from Cézanne, Caspar David Friedrich, Manet, Auguste Rodin or Adolph Menzel. It was emotive and definitely inspiring.

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This lego giant giraffe was incredible.

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I took this picture in the East Side Gallery. The sentence means (approx): “Once you’ve learned what freedom means you’ll never forget it.”WhatsApp Image 2019-04-18 at 12.29.44-3

This is Marta joining the asymmetry of this painting.

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The amazing Sony Centre’s ceiling.

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Our last sunset of the trip.

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The museums were already a piece of art themselves, their architecture it’s stunning.

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The Royal Couple Nefertiti and Akhenaten, in the Neues Museum.

Back in Letterkenny, the spring shows up some sunny days. One of this fortunate days I took the camera and went for a walk, these are some of the results:

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Regarding my workload, right now I just finished a first version of last year’s DYS Annual Report (gathering content and designing the layout). I am also working on ECHO right now and our EVS final project. We’re leaving in less than two months so we have to start completing our Youthpass Certificate. A week ago the Celebration event happened and Marta, Maria and I designed some nice masks for the staff members. The evening was good craic!

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Cheers,

Maria G

 

Trip to London

Making the most of my volunteering experience, last weekend I went to London to meet one of my best friends, Flavia. We’ve known each other for 23 years, it’s crazy how time flies!

We’ve enjoyed the bloomed camellias and magnolias from Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park and a stroll around a very busy central London (Paul’s walk, Tower Bridge, London Tower, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye, Trafalgar Square, M&M’s World, China Town). The time we spent together was short, but I’d say we made the most of it!

A few photos from the wee trip, below ❤

Love,

Maria C.