GYV Staff/ Participant during: First session, 1998
Education: Aeronautical Engineering Diploma in 2000. HNC Manufacturing Engineering 2011
Occupation: Aircraft Structural Fitter
Most Interesting Country Visited: USA of course!
Favorite GYV Memory: Meeting loads of interesting people with all sorts of backgrounds, religions, and beliefs. I have so many other memories that with stay with me forever.
Volunteer/Civic Engagement since Global Youth Village: I coached junior football (soccer) for kids ages 5-16 years old. I also volunteered as a mentor for young adults dealing with substance abuse.
Biography: I was born and grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I went through protestant schooling until the age of 17 when I left with O.K. grades. In Northern Ireland, there is a lot if hostility between the Protestant and Catholics. I grew up fighting with people of the same age as me over religion, as a teenager we really didn’t know why we were fighting. As I grew older I was more aware if the history of our country and why the animosity was there.
My mother and father raised my two brothers and me well and taught us not to show any disrespect towards any faith or religion.
My father always says, “it’s nice to be important, but, its more important to be nice” and this has stayed with me since I was young.
In 1997 got an apprenticeship at a local aircraft manufacturing company in Belfast (bombardier) and completed my certificate in September 2000. In between my studies, in June 1998 I got a chance of going to GYV with a friend of mine.
Going to GYV at 18 showed me how other cultures integrate and live side by side. I enjoyed the workshops, team building and activities that was put on for us and a lot of what I learned has stuck by me every since.
I stayed at the company for 5 years before leaving and becoming a self employed aircraft structural fitter. I spent 4 years traveling around the UK and Europe working for various aircraft manufacturers and airports. During this time I got married to my beautiful wife Julie in 2007. It was honestly the best day of my life. I am now back working for Bombardier in Belfast and hope to start a family soon. I have two wee dogs Ruby and Lily who are miniature daschunds (sausage dogs).
I want to thank everyone at GYV that took time from their own lives to mentor a bunch of moody teenagers. I can honestly say it changed my way of thinking about other people’s religious beliefs, their cultures and their way of life.