Interns and volunteers play a vital role in the day to day running of our programmes. We wanted to continue to celebrate their work and achievements this week so we caught up with Abby Demarest, Senior After Schools Intern, to ask her a few questions. Abby is from Durham, North Carolina, and joined the Solas Project team in September 2014.
Abby what was it like working in the club at the beginning?
I found it to be a lot of fun but also hard at first. I distinctly remember the accents being harder to understand than I thought they would be, thankfully I have greatly improved. The kids love to play a game where they imitate my American accent and I try to imitate their Dublin accent, I still lose every time.
What have your highlights been?
I have said from the beginning that my favourite day at Club is Thursdays, when we take the kids to the sports hall. Normally we end the time in a big game of adults verses kids in football, we all get really into it and have a lot of fun! I have also enjoyed leading art activities and helping teach tag rugby in the schools, and getting to know each kid in club individually.
What impact have you noticed Solas Project having on the children over 2 years?
I think the biggest impact I have seen at Solas Project is how the children have become more confident in who they are and more understanding of how they work individually. This impact has shown its self differently in each child. For some it has been learning to tie their shoes, and others it has been learning to manage their anger and others it has been realizing when they need to take a "wiggle break" during homework time in order to concentrate better. I have also seen kids go from being scared of getting in the pool to swimming fully on their own, as well as kids learning how to cycle for the first time. I think the biggest impact has been seeing smiles on their faces!
What will you miss?
Everything! Ha. I will miss each one of the kids, their great personalities, the hilarious things that they say, and the fun that we have had together in using our imaginations to create art. I will also miss beating them in football, being asked to sit beside them on the bus, and making them laugh by being too silly for them to handle. Oh yeah, and drawing pictures for them so that they can then write their name on them and claim the drawings as their own. There are probably about 100 Abby Demarest originals floating around Dublin 8, under many different pseudonyms right now.
Abby finishes her internship with Solas Project at the end of May and we will be sad to see her go. We appreciate so much about Abby and the hard work she has put in over the past two years. Along with the artwork she leaves behind, Abby also leaves a legacy of love and laughter that will last well into the future.
If you are interested in finding out more about any of our volunteering and interning opportunities, please email Emily@solasproject.ie for further information.