Jana Hargrove is a Youth Work student from Melbourne, Australia. Over the course of the summer, she gained valuable skills volunteering with Foróige in the Ballyshannon/Bundoran Neighbourhood Youth Project in Co. Donegal as part of a student placement. Project Worker Caroline Cooke was her supervisor. Jana says, “I secured this student placement early this year via email, and right from my first contact with Caroline I was surprised at the friendliness and welcoming, prompt reply I received. Caroline stated she would be happy to have me as a volunteer at the NYP and was looking forward to meeting me in June. I arrived in Ireland, having never been here before not knowing what to expect. After spending couple of weeks exploring the tourist spots I arrived in Ballyshannon. I was extremely excited and nervous with anticipation to see what was in store for me at the Foróige Neighbourhood Youth Project.
On the schedule was working on the school holiday program, facilitating groups and fundraising. I was able to participate in fun activities with the young people such as surfing, kayaking, hiking, yoga, dance, drama and sports thanks to all the outstanding volunteers and community members that are happy to give their time and share their skills with young people involved with Foróige. I was amazed at the willingness to get involved in enriching the local 10-18 year olds lives and empowering them to achieve and learn new things in a positive and supportive environment. Without the immense support from the volunteers involved in Foróige, I feel that the young people would truly miss out. Foróige has a huge impact on the lives of these young people.
Foróige has given me so many new skills that I can take with me back to Australia and I am truly going to miss all the young people, volunteers and staff (Caroline) at the Foróige NYP. I felt such a strong sense of community whilst on this placement that I have never experienced anywhere else before. This group of people really did welcome me with open arms and I’d like to thank them for all their support and for being such awesome, kind-hearted people and a wonderful organisation that is Foróige.”