The months of August and September

Francesco:   
– Midterm training
The month of August begin with the Midterm training in the same location of the first time, in Swords. From one side was a great moment because we met again our friends after five months, there we shared all the new adventures and news about our EVS. From another side was sick because more people after the course they had to leave the Ireland to comeback in their countries.

– Party in the Park
During this period we had another fantastic experience: The Party in the Park organised by Donegal Youth Service. We have been engaged all the day, from the early morning with all the staff to form the spaces where we did the various activities as music, sport, art, etc. Was a sunshine day, but just until the 5 pm :P, with a huge participations of young people but there were also numerous  families with children.
Really a great day! 😀

– Travelling around Ireland
In September I travelled more in Ireland with a my friend from Italy to discover new amazing places like Malin Head, Giant’s Causeway and all the area where made the set of Game of Thrones. I spent a beautiful week also thanks a great weather during this month.

Irene:
August has been pretty chilled out, lots of people from our staff took days off for their holidays and one could smell the Summer atmosphere in the air (and the office :)).
Despite that we were still up to something! We went to our mid-way training in Swords and had the possibility to increase our awareness on the massive changes we’ve been through since March; we’ve been talking with other volunteers and it really helped understanding our own path and what the future may bring for us. Sadly, this was the last chance we had to meet everyone because most of them already finished their projects and left for their home countries. We hope to see them once again around the world though :).

Other calm and summery days went by and then, on the 24th of August, we helped set up the annual DYS Party In The Park: it was both a very tiring and great event :). All the staff was busy preparing the different stands and activities since early morning but we finished the day fully satisfied with the attendance of many people. Music, sport, food and games were all part of the schedule and I could test my skills on face-painting and video shooting for my first time.
During that same week I was off to England and enjoyed the London carnival (much more easier to reach when the flight is cheap and it doesn’t take much time!) It was a really cool experience, would recommend it to anyone and the sun shone bright while I was finally able to sport a pair of shorts and a tank top..

Aaand here we are back again, to the not-so-warm-but-still-lovely emerald country: September has begun and everyone is back on track, including us.. Our Activat8 youth work training has restarted and we’re adjusting to our normal routine and work..but we’ll still keep exploring and travelling, that’s for sure!

Marika:
In August I went to Dublin Comic Con, in the beginning of month, also we had second and last EVS training, were we said goodbye to our fellow volunteers, after that, I went to county Clare for Irish music festival, that was one week of fun. And I made lifelong friend there. Mostly in August I was off for holidays, so didn’t do much at work, but even though, I filmed video for Mental Health Week, which will be displayed all around Donegal to promote Mental Health in Ireland.

September also has been busy, on 3rd of September we had celebration event for Donegal Youth Council, me and my boss we have been preparing everything for event, eventually it went well, we showcased all work that Youth Council has done for past two years. And now we are visiting different schools of Donegal to present Donegal Youth Council and encourage young people to put forward their candidate for elections. Me personally, I went to Glenveagh park again and had an amazing trip of life, discovered all the beauty of nature, I went to Dublin for open air Willy Wonka film screening, and went hiking to Glendalough national park, which was so beautiful. That’s it.

Gabi:
Midterm training – Dublin
On the beginning of month we had the opportunity to take part for midterm training for evs volunteers. In this context I could meet again all the volunteers from all Ireland, chatting and describing our activities inside of evs projects. The trainers helped us to awareness about our evs process in special to use the left months in that way to be helpful for a personal and professional development.

Adobe course
For a few days Frank introduced me to the “adobe world”. During his course I had to opportunity to get in contact with different information about Adobe illustration and Photoshop being useful for my knowledge in this context.

Drop-In
Us you already discovered in my last reports for a few weekends per month I’m involved in LOFT project. There, together with another trainer, I have to supervise the activity that take place in Drop-In. Also, I’m responsible to assist young people for their needs and to lead them to a normal behaviour during their activities.

Party in the park
This is one of the best project conducted by the DYS where the community from Letterkenny is involved to take part together in a series of activities. There I did different tasks supervising the activities, cleaning the area, administrative part and being all the time in contact with all the participants.

Active 8 groups
In September the Outreach Project came back for a new range of activities. In this project I’m involved in different ways, but the mainly part of my job is to be present together with Sheena in Lifford and Letterkenny for 2 weekly workshops for 2 different young groups. Here I’ve the opportunity to organise different games and workshops with diverse topics than to use them in our meetings with young people. The most important aspect about this project is that I can exactly what I love more during to this evs project namely being a youth worker. I can found in Sheena a real support in that way. Another aspect about this project is that I participate in each week for a full OCN Level 2 course. This course is made it for those who want to grow up their knowledge working with young people. In that case I use this course improving my knowledge and skills working with young people also because in each week discover new topics which are suitable in youth working process.

The amazing Irinel
Irinel is a irish young boy adopted from Romania when he had 3 years old. Now he is 19 and his desire is to achieve more information about Romanian language, people behaviour and on the and to be able to go back there chatting with his natural parents in Romanian language. For me is one of the most amazing challenge in my life due the fact I can change I can change a real way the life of young person giving my hand for his desire. What can be more exciting?!

Cultural evening
For cultural evening Frankie ask me to prepare a performance that involved to prepare two traditional Romanian songs due the fact I’m a singer in my country. The evening for performance was genuine and without any words to describe. Drop-in, the place from DYS where young people come together was full with people ready to enjoy a perfect cultural night. All of them was very opened with my songs and they supported me during all my performance. Even if the lyrics from my songs were in Romanian they received me with a nice smile face which motivated me to end up my performance with a lot of emotions and good vibes.
After this evening I went in Letterkenny Town Park where different artists did their performance. Was special night and together with a few friends ended with a good irish craic into a traditional irish pub with live bands and nice people.

Kasia’s birthday
One of the most important activity was also Kasia’s birthday where we were invited to join. There we try it different polish dishes, we had a good time playing music, zumba and Nintendo. For us was a good night being entertainment and for that we can say a big thank you to our friend Kasia

 

The months of May, June and July

MAY

– Travel & free time
In the end of April / beginning of May Gabi, together with other 4 EVS, went to Scotland for four days to visit the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow and took a guided tour of Loch Ness. During this period also Francesco went travelling: he came back to Italy to enjoy a bit of warmth :). We had then another important event that was Marika’s birthday: we organised a surprise party and celebrated together her day!

– Personal Development
We had the opportunity to participate to the LGBT Training workshop that was delivered by DYS LGBT Trainer Sinead in Lifford as part of the Activ8 course (Outreach project). There, we could learn how to improve our skills while working in particular with this target group. We also started to join the mental health group led by Louise, and be involved in other workshops such as the one with Frankie in which we learnt how to increase our youth workers’ skills.

– Our tasks
Gabi’s tasks:
-Preparing and facilitating workshop for differents young people groups
– Working with Donegal Youth Council for a fundraising activity
– Supervising Loft activities in drop-in
-Preparing facilitating and coordinating Casino’s activities in drop-in being helped by another 8 young volunteers.

Marika’s tasks: I was working with Youth Council as second animation project about cyber bullying. Also traveled around Donegal to attend county meetings with Youth Council.

Francesco’s tasks: The month of May was the “transition’s month” because we started to organise all the work for the Summer and it given me the possibility to improve my skills in design’s programs.

Irene’s tasks: Lots has been happening in May but I’d say that it was my personal development month: I got the opportunity to join so many projects and I’ve started my traning as a youth worker with Activ8; really enjoyed it and  I’m looking forward to continuing the course as part of the topics ( like for example communication psychology) we were dealing with were also in my field of study and interest.

JUNE

-Personal Development & Free Time
In June we had the opportunity to participate to Léargas training in Tullamore about the Erasmus + project; there we spoke in front of an audience to present our EVS experience. After this event we went all together with other 50 young people in Dublin to discover the importance of team building, this again was part of the Activ8 course organised through the Outreach Project. Our busy schedule was full with lots of good actvities  like going to the zoo, the cinema and visiting the site of the Battle of the Boyne; we also experienced the campus life for one night by staying in some super comfy accomodations at the DCU. As for what concerns our free time June was the football month, fully dedicated to the EURO 2016 matches, in which we supported our nations with a strong sense of pride and patriotism!

-Our Tasks
Gabi’s tasks:
-Supervising team building activities in Arena 7 through Outreach Project.
-Supervising Loft activities in drop–in.
– Speaking to a youth workers group in Tullamore about my EVS experience. The event was organised by Leargas.
-Supervising team building activity in Dublin through Outreach Project.

Marika’s tasks: I was involved in Youth Worker training with Sheena, I’ve never done that before, I find it very useful, because beside Youth Council. I am working with young people on One to One sessions.

Francesco’s tasks: June was characterized with a important event as my first English presentation in front audience, about my job in Donegal Youth Service and was a step very important for my self-esteem.

Irene’s tasks: Another month of personal development I’d say :)! I’ve spoken for my first time in front of an audience and in English so I felt like I had to face a double challenge but everything went good and I’m satisfied with myself. Moreover I’ve been learning a bit about the Irish history and religion (and especially how it can still affect Ireland nowadays) by going to the site Of the Battle of the Boyne and listening to the testimony of former OTR (On The Run) from Northern Ireland.

JULY

– Travels and Free Time
Irene and Gabi were engaged in volunteering for one week at the Swell music Festival on Arranmore Island ( still part of county Donegal ) while Francesco came back again to this home town to get his second dose of sunbeams 🙂 We also hosted some international people in July from Japan and Italy.

-Personal Development
Gabi, Irene and Francesco were involved into the DYS Summer Camp “Let’s Do It” (Outreach Project) for 2 weeks, going to different Youth Clubs all over the county to develop their skills in different fields and with different age groups.

-Our Tasks
Gabi’s tasks:
– Took my holidays for 1 week, working like a volunteer for Swell Festival organised in Arranmore Island.
-Preparing and facilitating Personal Development workshop which was organised through Summer Camp project in 8 youth clubs from Donegal County. I eased this workshop for over 260 young people.

Marika’s tasks: Continuing working with Youth Council. Preparing things for their goodbye party. Also I’ve been to Dublin visiting my Russian friend. Had a good time playing pool and chilling.

Francesco’s tasks: Also July was a great month for myself, I improved my skills to work with young people in different fields like Sport, Art and Personal Development, through the fantastic “Let’s Do It Summer Camp” organised by Donegal Youth Service. Was amazing!!

Irene’s tasks: July was filled with volunteering: other than my usual tasks as graphic designer at DYS I’ve been working at some posters to advertise the Earagail Arts Festival that took place the whole month of July in different places of Donegal. Always as part of the Earagail festival I’ve tested my photography skills at the Swell in Arranmore island while beeing able to get soaked into both traditional and not so traditional Irish music :). Last but not least, I’ve volunteered to join the “ Let’s Do It” summer camp: again, this was another really helpful experience that improved my skills as I could interact more with young people and assist the youth workers in delivering art workshops.

The months of March and April

MARCH

– On Arrival training
Month of March begin with EVS on-arrival training in Swords. There were gathered EVS volunteers from all around counties of Ireland. We where staying in really nice centre Emmaus we were lavishly fed :). We had some group activities, which involved improving our social skills. The most interesting was Dublin challenge, we had to do some funny quests in the streets, such as doing something that we never done, (walking bare foot; dancing “macarena” in front of Trinity College feeding seagulls). Swap up challenge (exchange an item as many times as possible) and so on :).That was a great opportunity to meet new friends, and so we did.
– Saint Patrick’s Day
17th March the most remarkable date in Ireland St.Patrick Day. 🙂
It’s a public day and in every city and town (we have been to Derry and Letterkenny) in held a parade, everybody’s in the streets celebrating dressed in greens, disguised as leprechaun, wearing shamrock accessories and of course in the evening enjoying in the rest of the day in the pubs.
– Easter Holidays
And here come the Easter holiday! It was good fun! We hosted some EVS people whom we meet an our training in Dublin and took them for a walk in Letterkenny, party all together to celebrate Easter and discovered a little bit more the island: we did the Giant’s Causeway tour, we have been walking for 16 km but it was worth it! 🙂 Not to mention that we spent a lovely (and sunny) day with Louise in Gleanveagh National Park during on the previous Sunday. We highly recommended it!
– Be Well Week
The last week of March ended with the DYS Be Well Week. We learnt how mental health can be intertwined with our body as well, Francesco and Gabi got active and participated to a soccer and gym workshop, other activities included a hip hop workshop and a conference from the main actors in Donegal about wellbeing.

Gabriel:  In March Sheena lift me to Magheroarty Harbour, where I discovered a long beach. The wheather was perfect for a ride through sand, wind and waves sound. I had enough time to be alone, to reflect for my EVS experience and to stable new goals. Another activities it happened in Derry where together with Sheena and young people from Lifford and Letterkenny 8 Active Groups I discovered to beauty of historical city, walking om the historical wall, making around pf the city, being leaded by a nice and facetious guide. Was a great time, also because I had opportunity to spend more time with different young people, to improve my English and to know more stuffs about Derry and Northern Ireland.

APRIL

In the beginning of April Marika and Irene had a trip to Belfast, Belfast is a contemporary, multicultural and eclectic city. We settled in famous “Vagabonds” hostel, where we met around 100 new people from all around the world in 4 days, the owner was extremely hospitable, he was bringing all the guests every evening together and taking us to local pubs and clubs. There were lots of cultural activities we did during the daytime: visiting museums, listening to history, and just being amazed by those modern and old buildings.
Francesco:
In April I participated in an amazing event – Youth Irish Music Awards (YIMA) at Aviva Stadium Dublin. I was supervising young people from Donegal with my colleague Dominic. The aim of event was to help young people in Ireland to get used to career of musician, there were multiple awards, Donegal team won prize for “Best studio photo”. This day was hilarious!
Gabriel:
In April I had the opportunity to climb Mont Errigal with DYS staff. Was a great experience that because I discovered a lot of nice views from Donegal, Mount Errigal being one of the highest peaks from Donegal. This activitity was a great experience because was organized such a charity case for Donegal Youth Service activities and also, because was leaded by Jason Black, the only local of Donegal which has climbed Mount Everest. In another day, Louise teached me how to make a irish traditional bread in LOFT kitchen. That was so delicious and if you want, I will share with you the recipe J.
In another day, taking advantage by the sunny weather, I took the bike, and I started a long travel for 6 hours around of Donegal county. Fortunately, I ride to the Gartan, the birthplace of St. Columba. Also, I discovered a lot of local farms in full activity with their sheep and cows. That gave me the idea that I have to spend one week in the summer into a local farm, to understand more their activity and life. Already I start to have discussion with Sinead, a member of DYS staff, which have more knowledge about this topic.
In both months I was part into my normal activities, like a youth worker, together with Sheena, my supervisor, in Lifford and Letterkenny, working a lot with young people, to teach them hwo to become youth workers. Unfortunately, the activities for young people from Magheroarty, where I attended  weekly with Michelle has ended. In our last meeting, I worked with them a theater improvisation session. There we had a lot of craic and funny moments.

 

The new volunteers and the month of February

Hello, we are the new volunteers from Donegal Youth Service! There are four of us:  Gabriel (from Romania), Marika (from Georgia), Irene and Francesco (from Italy). We arrived in Letterkenny in different days, Gabriel was the first one to start working in February, then Irene followed by Marika on the next day and the 2nd of March, Francesco joined the crew. We all work on different projects inside DYS and our roles are in separate areas.

 From Gabriel
Hi folks. My name is Gabriel, from Romania, I’m 23 years old. I have the pleasure to work, as Assistant Youth Worker, in Donegal Youth Service, more precisely in the Youth Outreach Project, which means I’m most of my time out with Sheena but also with Michelle and other trainers from DYS. We deliver different courses for young people and other youth workers from Donegal County. At the same time I’m involved into the Day Break Project: together with Claire, Carlyn and other volunteers I’m helping students coping with different issues. As for the rest of my time I’m in the LOFT (another project from Donegal Youth Service) where together with Louise, Kasia, Billy and other workers we help and interact with young people who choose to visit our space.
Why am I here?! Because I love to meet new people from different cultures, change my life all the time while learning, discover myself, travel, HAVE A NEW LIFE!
How did I get here?! With the plane. Truth to be told, the last few moments, when I had to leave my family, friends and Un Zambet Association, which is like a second family for me, were so hard. My mother and all the volunteers from my organisation surprised me by coming to the airport a few minutes before the plane took off. It was really nice. After that a new experience was awaiting me, because I flew for the first time in my life. I can’t forget the strong wind that hit the plane before landing in Dublin and made me feel like I was in a small boat in the middle of the Atlantic. But I’ve survived. But here comes the “nicest” ( I mean the worst) part: Dublin by night! I’ve arrived in Dublin Tuesday morning at 01.00 am and it was a real adventure to walk alone from the bus station to the hostel in a new bigger city, where all the streets were empty and I couldn’t find anyone who would give me a helping hand. But, finally, a taxi driver guided me to the correct address.
First day in Letterkenny: After a long journey from Dublin to Letterkenny, I arrived to the town in which I knew I would spend almost one year of my life. At the bus station Martin and Sheena were waiting for me, impatient ( I guess :)) to meet me. After a strong handshake, they drove me home, but not before showing me the main street of Letterkenny. All that I remember from a fast speaker like Martin (something normal for a Donegal resident) was that the street is the longest one in Ireland because is full with … pubs. You can imagine what was in my mind then. Finally I arrived into the new house. A beautiful and cozy Irish house with lots of rooms, a spacious kitchen and still with the previous EVS volunteer spirit from last year. After that Martin took me to the Donegal Youth Service. There I’ve discovered a huge staff, with many young people spread all over different places in DYS building. From the very first moment they were so cute and friendly with me and that’s when it really felt like home.
How was my first month with my new volunteering job: Since my second day in Letterkenny Sheena took me to go with her and Michelle in Magheroarty, Donegal. There 15 Irish native teenagers aged between 12 – 16 years old were preparing to start with us a series of workshops for the next 8 weeks. Another nice group are the young people from Lifford town, prospective youth workers. Here I have the opportunity to learn from Sheena how to improve my skills as a youth worker twice a week. Also, Sheena showed me my desk where all the time I have to prepare the workshops and different activities. It’s the first time being into an office with a lot of different people. That’s good because sometimes I try to hear their conversation just to get new words for my English. In the LOFT I helped Billy creating a quiz for an event for young people about Safety Internet Day and I also had the opportunity to meet the young people from Donegal Youth Council, where Sheena ran a workshop about Sexual Health Awareness. I’ve joined the DYS book club and had the opportunity to speak about different topics such as philosophy, religion, critical thinking and of course read books. During my spare time I’ve discovered the town, some of the traditional Irish pubs and the surroundings of Letterkenny together with my fellow EVS volunteers. In general, I’m glad to take part in this EVS project, and one of the reason are all the people from DYS staff. They are kind, helpful and welcoming with us. For instance, Frankie gave us a bike to ride whenever we need. But it’s only one example among many others. I will keep in touch for the future with you and I’ll tell you more about this experience.
My fellow EVS: For the first 3 days after I’ve arrived in Letterkenny I lived alone in our huge EVS house. After that Irene, my colleague from Italy, joined with me in this experience. Next day, Marika from Georgia arrived in our house. We spent a full month doing different activities, travelling around Letterkenny and Donegal and enjoying our free time in the house. We meet again at final of March 🙂

From Marika
Hello, my name is Marika, from Tbilisi, Georgia, I’m 23 years old. I’m working in Donegal Youth Service as youth worker, also I am using my illustrating and animating skills for different projects. I decided to do EVS for meeting new, learn about different culture, to work and live in different environment, to grow personally and professionally, to get inspired. First month I was getting used to new place. I was surprised how people were friendly in the office, they are very supportive, don’t let me feel as a stranger, so I am enjoying my working environment, part of my job is traveling around Donegal on regional meetings, so I never get bored.

From Irene
Hey there! It’s Irene, I’ve arrived on the 4th of February after a 12 hour (yes many buses and trains from Tuscany to Donegal!) trip from Florence! Gabi and Louise, my supervisor, welcomed me and took me for a car ride in Letterkenny: the town, house and people definitely met my expectations or I’d better say were beyond expectation! I got a big room with an en suite bathroom and Gabi already bought me dinner 🙂 The first days of work were pretty nice. I love The LOFT, its a place where young people can play pool, table tennis or simply chat over a cup of tea. My duties were as predicted, those of designing posters, leafleats and some graphic work in general for the Youth Information Centre (YIC). The main aim of YIC is to give young people an enjoyable and safe environment to hang out, whilst also allowing them to ask for counselling and help in their day-to-day life or for any queries related to work and education. Irish people are really kind and would do anything to make you feel at ease. Letterkenny really felt like home! …except for one single aspect: the weather! As an Italian expat it was a bit hard to get used to the rainy, and sometimes stormy days but with my ski clothes on I’ve defeated any type of adverse condition while of course locals were sporting t-shirts all day long (still thinking they must have some kind of superpower, gotta ask them one of these days!).

Hey there! It’s Irene again! So here we are, a month has passed and I have gotten to know a little bit more about this country. My first impression remained unchanged, everyone is so kind and welcoming. One evening we even met a guy who wanted to make sure we weren’t lost, he called a cab for us to get home safely and people would go out of their way to greet you in the street and local shops. My design work continued as well and I found it really enjoyable since it combines everything I’ve studied for (which will be graphics and language mediation and translation!). I really love working for social care issues and I also got to know a little bit more about the young people of Donegal. I’ve joined the DYS book club and had the opportunity to speak about different topics such as philosophy, critical thinking and literature and of course read books! As for my explorer spirit we went to Inishowen, a wild sandy peninsula up North, we visited Buncrana beach and the Grianan of Aileach, a round fort which dominates the Lough (lake) Swilly and Foyle. Oh and not to forget, I’ve started my Irish tasting and tried not to stuff myself with my weakness: sweets and whiskey 🙂.

From Francesco
Hello guys, I will start by saying that my description will be a little bit short because I will not entertain a lot 🙂. I am Francesco from Agropoli (Southern Italy), since my arrival almost 1 month has gone by! My trip was long, I had to do a stop in Amsterdam, take a new flight with a different airplane to Belfast and then a bus to Derry where Louise was waiting for me. The twenty-minute trip from Derry to Letterkenny was very comfortable for me because I had a very warm welcome from Louise, my supervisor. My first days as an Irish man were really beautiful, but I didn’t even have the time to introduce myself with the other volunteers in the Donegal Youth Service because we had to leave for Dublin for the Arrival Training with Leargas. After returning from this beautiful course with all the European volunteers, my experience as an EVS in DYS has finally started and I can say that the other volunteers with whom I share a house with and all staff members are very kind. My activities in the Youth Information Center are that I manage the EVS-DYS Facebook page and the EVS website, which is very interesting and I really like it because some of these are similar to my previous work in Italy. Sorry for my bad English, but I am getting better!!!

All together with write