HAIL marks International Women’s Day with online event
Volunteers, tenants and HAIL staff members got together on March 8th with a special online event to celebrate International Women’s Day via Zoom. The day provided a welcome opportunity for members of HAIL’s Women’s Group to get together following a difficult 12 months of COVID-19 restrictions. The online gathering included a number of guest speakers, music, poetry and a quiz. Kim Gorey, a HAIL Peer Support Volunteer MC’d the event.
Invited speakers included Rita Lawlor, a former athlete and Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics. Rita has won over 100 medals during her sporting career as a gymnastic. The Nass native also opened the 11th Special Olympics World Games in Croke Park, during 2003. In her ambassadorial role with the Special Olympics, Rita has met Muhammed Ali and President Clinton as well as other representatives of groups for people who have experienced discrimination due to their disability. Ms Lawlor discussed the importance of positivity in the lives of women and how this positive mindset is even more important during the current COVID-19 pandemic
Another speaker included HAIL tenant Miriam Breen, who started her journey with HAIL 16 years ago. Being a member of the ‘HAIL United’ football team and a member of HAIL’s Tenant’s Forum, Miriam takes an active part is number of very successful and sustainable social activities. These activities were initially set up by HAIL’s Peer Support Volunteers to offer further support to HAIL’s tenants and clients. Mariam thanked many of the female frontline members of HAIL’s staff who have supported her through the years as well as present-day female staff members. Ms Breen discussed the importance of HAIL’s social activities – and how these activities help people integrate into their communities and support mental wellbeing. She also noted how these activities are now a large part of her life.
Brid Fitzpatrick a writer, poet and librarian discussed creative writing and inspiring women in the arts. The HAIL Music group also performed their original piece, ‘Set Sail with HAIL’’, with lyrics by Patrick Clifford and arrangement by Darren Cullen.
Martina Smith, CEO of HAIL, acknowledged female members of staff, peer support volunteers and members of the Tenant’s Forum– and women taking up leadership roles in each of these areas. Ms Smith added: ‘‘HAIL is probably fairly unique in that our senior leadership team are all female. In addition, we also have a lot of other strong female members of staff and volunteers. HAIL is good at getting female voices heard, and female voices should be heard right across the board.’’
Throughout the day, a number of HAIL staff and support workers also helped clients by delivering gifts and ensuring people were able to access the event online.
For more information on HAIL’s Women’s Group and the peer online community, people can email firstname.lastname@example.org