Hello, my name is Maura and I have been an intern at Global Action Plan for about 3 months now, and as I come into my last week I find that I am really going to miss working here. I started at GAP this past September through IPSL, a study abroad program that combines school and international service work. Before coming to Ireland, I had never left America, nor did I know anyone coming here. I was leaving the familiar town that I was born and raised in to go to a place where everyone was a stranger. Looking back, I would have never imagined myself being as connected with the community as I am today.
Through the programs that I was involved with in GAP, I received countless opportunities to interact and develop relationships with members the Ballymun community. I was lucky enough that my time at GAP would coincide with the 10-week Park Stewardship Program. Through that program I got to know some of the kindest, smartest, and funniest kids, and I know I will miss them dearly. I saw them first develop knowledge about the parks in their community, and then I saw them develop respect, which was an amazing transition to see.
I also got to work on two of our community gardens, Muck and Magic and the Virgin Mary. There I got to bond with community members of all ages and backgrounds through the act of gardening together. Through the garden I met some amazing individuals from St. Michaels House, and their optimism and energy still makes me smile today.
Working with GAP has given me the opportunity to see the best that Ballymun has to offer. I have developed such an appreciation and respect towards the community. Everyone I have interacted with has not only been kind, they have gone out of their way to make me feel included. This community is so special, and so resilient, and I have such admiration for the individuals that I got to know here, and I will miss them all so much.