The leaves of Barretstown Castle show the time that has passed since I arrived. Lovely months that have taught me that nothing should be taken for granted, that you can help colleagues in many ways and that you always have to be grateful.
August 2019 vs November 2019 (as it rains 99% of the days, I have decided to take pictures for the remaining 1% to have a colorful memory)
I fell in love with Ireland, and it has been thanks to the people. Living in a country where you don’t know anyone and they talk a different language, its hard, despite being Europe. But I am very lucky to work in a charity where people are the most valuable, they have a big heart.
The Irish resemble the Spaniards in their friendly and sociable character, in their humor, in spending maximum time with the family, and it helped me a lot to get along with my colleagues. Since I arrived, they have lent a hand with absolutely everything you can imagine: accommodation, tips, tires, translations, transport….
And what have I been doing during this time? Working on our GSK 3-fold change mission:
When I decided requesting the Pulse Program and carried on the interviews, I never thought that I would end in Ireland, and now I think: THANK YOU. We can contribute with lasting and real value in every single non-profit organization.
Barretstown is evolving positively in terms of facilities, number of campers, volunteers and fundraising, but they want to grow in technology development at the same level. And that is my mission here:
Project “Create a smart and more efficient environment.”
This is my core project. The aim of this project is identifying the inefficiencies in the charity processes and see how the technology can help them avoiding time consuming tasks, duplicities and new ways of working.
We first ran a survey across all the departments and then I sat down with each one to understand how they were using each system and how they could improve.
After understanding their workflows, I shared with them the key priorities to improve and established a complete proposal based on what is working in the rest of the charities from Serious Fun. It was very focused on recruitment and camp management.
The project is still running, and I hope I will let you know at the end of the assignment that it will be successfully implemented. On the other hand:
25th Anniversary- Gala Ball
2019 marks a very special year for Barretstown as they celebrate 25 years of continuing the legacy of Paul Newman. This milestone presented a great opportunity to showcase the impact of Barretstown and raised vital funds to secure the next 25 years.
The heart of Barretstown remains the same, but the site has changed drastically since that first summer back in 1994. That year Barretstown welcomed 124 campers in total, with many of the activities housed in large tents. Since then, thanks to the facilities growth and development, they now serve over 8,000 camper per year here on site and around Ireland through our Outreach Programmes.
It took place on Saturday 28th September in the RDS Dublin and welcomed over 1,000 people to the RDS to experience a little Barretstown magic.
We were assigned with different roles and we were working until 2 am. We celebrated the success at the end of the night dancing all together, it was fantastic!
Press Play Campaign
For the last two months I am also helping the Fundraising team to analyze their most important campaign and make strategic decisions for the future. The Press Play sum up:
“Childhood stops for seriously ill children. At Barretstown we Press Play on childhood.”
The Press Play campaign is a 5 year campaign to raise an additional €5 million so that by 2024 every child with a serious illness who could benefit from one of Barretstown’s therapeutic programmes will have the opportunity to do so.
Families always talk of how a diagnosis of serious illness means that normal family life stops, everything becomes about the sick child and the fight to save their life. Barretstown helps children and their families deal with the emotional and physiological scars often left after months and years of treatment. Hospitals treat the illness but Barretstown treats the child.
It is a straight forward message, clear enough to understand their mission. You can also collaborate by donating 🙂
Until now, I have been sharing my experience with my GSK team and colleagues through Check-in calls, videos and informal chats. Barretstown has enough awareness in GSK Spain, as we offer a few volunteers each year to work in the summer camps, but I have been trying to explain their mission and spreading my energy.
How did I did it? I sent a video and it was presented in one of the Town Halls in Madrid. I shared my life-changing experience and what is Pulse, as I am the first person assigned in this program in GSK Consumer Healthcare Spain.
I will come back with bigger view of the world and fresh insights, trying to change GSK for the better!
I could say that I am not the same person since I started my assignment, it is truly an experience of a lifetime. While Barretstown pulse play on childhood, I have pulse play on finding myself. As you spend so much time alone, you learn that you are the only one who holds the key to the happiness and that step out of our comfort zone is absolutely necessary to grow.
Sometimes we have to travel to unknown places to find things we didn’t know we had lost, and then to repair parts of us we didn’t know were broken. In my case, this experience reminded me that you never have to stop being children. Keep playing fuels your imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and emotional well-being. In the words of George Bernard Shaw (famous Irish playwright), “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Play can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you function at your best.
**Advice** Take a few moments to breathe and remember the things that you are thankful for and the things that are going right (no matter how small they may seem), you will be able to widen your vision to see life in a more positive view. When things feel chaotic just take some time for yourself, you will then realize things are not that bad and that there is a solution.
I attached some pictures of my journey in this amazing country!
bi toilichte! (means be happy in Gaelic)