I have been with Oakview since 2010 and have recently stepped back from the day to day as Managing Director of our Early Years Services in Tralee, Technological University Dublin, South Dublin County Council, Tallaght & Clondalkin, Cork City Hall, European Commission at Dunsany, Co. Meath and the Oireachtas in Dublin City, though I continue as an active Board Member to ensure the continued quality of care and service.
I am now delighted to lead our new business venture AcornCloud, a custom designed SaaS Early Years Management software. Though my 3 children do laugh at their mom becoming a techy at 46 years of age!!
I absolutely love what I do and really believe in the saying “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius
In my free time I love spending time with my family.
This past February I spent some time volunteering at an orphanage ‘Hogares Luz y Vida’ – nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Bogota, Colombia with my daughter Alazne and the experience was life changing.
Nestled in the foothills of Bogota, Colombia is a home and haven for children… those who have been orphaned or abandoned – by parents who simply could not provide… or understand.
How did Hogares Luz y Vida begin?
While volunteering in a hospital for the blind in Bogota, Sister Valeriana was distraught over the number of children who were brought to the hospital, struggling with multiple disabling conditions, and frequently abandoned. She adopted a blind, nameless toddler from that hospital and gave the child her own name, Valeriana – Valle. Soon thereafter, she made a vow that she would not leave Colombia until every abandoned child was provided with a home and family. Sister Valeriana began her commitment by converting a dirt floor garage into a home for blind children – many with additional compromised and complex conditions – each of whom had been abandoned. Within months, children with various disabling conditions were brought to her doorstep, and she welcomed each one. Her heartfelt desire and devotion was to bring LIGHT and LIFE into the seemingly hopeless lives of these children. It was just after midnight one night when a five-week-old abandoned baby diagnosed with cerebral palsy and countless other medical issues was placed in her care. The hospital physicians had deemed her ”terminal”. However, Sister Valeriana decided to adopt her as well… a second daughter – she named her Rosita. In February 2022, Rosita celebrated her 31st birthday; while Hogares Luz y Vida celebrated its 31-year anniversary. Rosita, Valle, Sister Valeriana and Hogares Luz y Vida – the Home of Light and Life – are testimonies of inspiration, determination, perseverance, and boundless love.
The children in this orphanage, challenged with both birth and developmental anomalies, are part of a steadily growing family of over 235 precious children who do not consider their challenges as limitations. All of this is credit to Sister Valeriana Garcia Martin, a nun originally from Spain, who has devoted over 31 years to creating “home” for each of them – a home based on Biblical principles – where they receive and give affection, dignity, respect, honor, kindness, love… family.
The orphanage consists of a main home, a farm in the mountains, a home specialising in the care of children with complex additional needs, a school for the local community and a life skills centre.
At each venue, we stepped into the lives and hearts of the 235 children who call this home.
Children and adults who live with such a variety of additional needs; Children who are para- and quadriplegic, children who are deaf and blind, children who suffer unbearably painful lifelong ailments, children with autism,
Children who continue to smile and live life to their fullest no matter what.
Both Alazne and I cannot wait for our next visit.
Recently I had won an award at the Connect Kerry Women in Business Awards, in the Science and Innovation category. I am truly honoured to receive it. I would like to thank everyone that made it possible!