Project Children Intern Class of 2012



Aisling Douglas

Student at South West College Omagh Studying Business. Interned at the Minute Press, Plymouth, Michigan

"When I heard about project children I was studying business in South West College Omagh, I thought this was an amazing opportunity and decided to apply for it and fortunately proved successful. I was placed in the International Minute Press in Plymouth Michigan. The Minute Press is a printing company that works with local companies and individuals, throughout my time there I was required to fulfill office duties such as entering payments, answering phones, helping with the EDDM program which sends advertisement flyers to over 10,000 homes in different areas, making deliveries, attending meetings and selling advertisement space.

Although it wasn't all work and no play the host family I was placed with couldn't do enough for me throughout my time there we got to attend the 4th of July parade, spend a weekend in Chicago, a couple of day trips to Ohio, they took me to a water theme park, a zoo and an aquarium. we went to a baseball game, visited a number of different restaurants, we also went to the Henry Ford Museum which was currently playing host to the Titanic exhibition and we went to the rock and roll hall of fame which has incredible memorabilia of amazing artists I even got to see Michael Jackson's thriller jacket. The town and people were so friendly and very welcoming and i would not hesitate to go back. It has been the best experience of my life so far and I wouldn't change any part of it and I would definitely recommend this program to any other students interested in international culture and experiences as the program has a lot to offer."       



Amy Conway

Student at Edinburgh Napier University studying Communication, Advertising and Public Relations. Interned at the Waterstone Inn, Greenwood Lake, New York

"Taking part in the Project Children Intern Program has been a phenomenal experience and I have gained a lot from taking part. Firstly, participating in Habitat for Humanity gave me a direct insight into the lives of others who have been affected by natural disasters. As this is not a everyday concern at home, working alongside others who have to deal with this fear on a regular basis is a real eye opener to how other people across the world live. Through this week in Alabama the interns who participated became very close and great friends have been made over the course of the seven weeks. We had the opportunity to meet up during our internships and go sightseeing, also enhancing my experience by visiting various landmarks.

My internship was conducted at The Waterstone Inn which is owned by the Mulcahy family and also the founders of Project Children. Whilst there I carried out online marketing and public relations duties. It was a privilege to work alongside the family and as I have never conducted such campaigns for an Inn before I have learnt a lot from this Internship by trying out different things. I would proudly say that participating in this internship has greatly benefited by employment opportunities, gained me great new friends and connections and also I have learnt things about myself and my abilities. I have discovered that the motto surrounding Project Children and all those involved comes down to two things. 1) do your best and work hard 2) be kind to others. This will stay with me for the rest of my life." 



Anthony Houston

Student at Queens University Belfast studying Accounting. Interned at Michael Stapleton Associates, New York.

"This has been, without doubt the best seven weeks of my life. Starting off, Alabama was so rewarding being able to offer a family in need a brand new house, especially after what had happened to them. All the interns that completed ‘habitat for humanity’ really bonded and I realized how lucky I was to be part of such a fantastic group. After arriving in New York, getting to know my host family, settling into work at MSA and getting used to city life has been seamless. After one week everyone made me feel so welcome. The work I completed in the finance department was very relevant to my accounting degree and a great experience. The people in the office were all very friendly and MSA really is a brilliant company to work for. While over there I took as many opportunities as possible. I went to both the Yankee and Mets baseball games, a red bull’s soccer game, shows on broadway, the empire state building, firework shows and fire island not to mention nights out! Overall it was an absolutely fantastic experience and I would recommend it to everyone who has the opportunity to complete it!"




Aveen Rafferty

Student at Southern Regional College in Newry studying Health and Social Care. Interned at Broome Day Services, New York.

"My name is Aveen Rafferty, I study a HND in health and social care at the southern regional college in Newry. I don’t know where to start in explaining the experience i had this summer! I was placed in a city called Binghamton which is 3 hours away from New York City. I worked in Broome Day Services which involves working with adults who are mentally and physically disabled. This program has provided me with an experience of a life time, there are no words to describe how nice everyone has been to me! I stayed with Peggy she kindly opened her house to me this summer and i don’t think i have ever met a nicer person in my life, she’s a complete legend! This experience has showed me that this is 100% the field that i want to work in, it gave me an insight into what my job in the future could be and i loved every minute of it. I could never thank the project children team enough for allowing me to have this experience in America this summer and allowing me to meet so many new people who i will be friend for life with! I don’t want to go home!" 




Brendan Carty

Student of the University of Ulster studying Architecture. Interned at BHC Architects, New York.

"BHC architects are a prestigious practice based in the centre of Manhattan with an excellent reputation. Working within the practice was a privilege in itself as the office boasts some amazing projects and a very experienced team of employees. The friendly office environment immediately helped me to settle into my work from the word ‘go’ and further more enjoy the work that I had been given. The projects I had worked on involved a wide range of architecture. Including residential/libraries/retail and accommodation, and also allowed me to work at the different stages of the design process. Seeing how different architecture offices conduct their business provides essential education for the future, especially if someone wishes to own their own practice, likewise the professionalism that the partners and staff in BHC maintain is a key part to their success.  

The office is situated on 28th street and 5th avenue Manhattan, this central location in a fantastic city creates a tremendous opportunity for anyone with any interest in architecture, and so I went on many architectural visits of my own interest after a day’s work in the city. The past 2 months have definitely provided me with a boost in momentum and an increase in working confidence to go forth and be successful in the professional world."  




Brogain Ni Chiarrain

Student at the University of Ulster studying Human Rights Law & Transitional Justice. Interned at the Office of Peter King, Congressman.


When I initially sat down to think about this experience with Project Children, I found it really difficult to try and encompass everything in which I gained into just a few paragraphs.  The experience as a whole, has given me more in eight weeks than four years at university has ever given me.  However if I was to pin point the most important thing in which I gained from the experience, it would undoubtedly be self confidence.  At six months old I obtained third degree burns over 75% of my body, despite not knowing what exactly life would be like without the burns and skin graft, I cannot help but feel self conscious.  So when I eventually left for eight weeks in the USA, it wasn’t the home sickness or what lay ahead which made me nervous it was the sheer fact that I would be surrounded by complete and other strangers, that would see my scars and potentially stare and ask questions.  Up until I reached Alabama in which we helped out with Habitat for Humanity, I had covered up my scars, which range from just below my chest to the soles of my feet, the bulk being on my legs.  But I knew with the heat I would have to wear shorts, something in which I never wear back home or even on holidays with people around.  In fact I even managed to go four weeks backpacking in Thailand with my other half, in the blistering heat with leggings on. 


The heat in Alabama however was at the start unbearable, especially whilst carrying out manual labour, therefore shorts where my only option.  The response which I got from the project children group as a whole made me feel so secure it was surreal.  In fact the response was simply that no one batted an eyelid, the best response I could have asked for.  Despite having third degree burns for 22years, the very awkwardness which accompanies questions and stares of people wanting to know what happened, still to this very day embarrasses me and makes me feel extremely uneasy.  So the sheer fact that I was with a group of 30 complete strangers I was expecting at least one person to ask the daunting question of “what happened?” I felt so comfortable with the project children group as a whole that I even managed to go to the pool and lake in Alabama, public places which would be simply out of the question anywhere else in the world.  To any ‘normal’ person going to the lake or pool is a really standard thing to do, a simple effort.  For myself, despite the external exterior, building up that confidence to go to the pool and the lake was one of the hardest things I have ever done, especially with no boyfriend by my side reassuring me everything is going to be ok. 


The self confidence which I gained in that first week is something which I struggled to gain for 22years, therefore to try and explain how much this experience meant to me or much I have taken from it is indescribable.  For the first time, last week I went out with bare legs, whereas I would have generally wore opaque black tights, something in which I thought I wouldn’t have the confidence to do back home.  This attainment of self confidence is most definitely the most important attribute I have taken from Project Children.  That is not to deflect from the numerous other aspects in which I took from the Project Children journey as a whole.  I had opportunities which I would never have gotten in Belfast, such as working alongside Habitat for Humanity, or having the privilege of interning for Congressman Peter T King.  Yet again my internship under Peter King was easily the most rewarding and fun experience.  Pete from the outset made me feel at home and from there on in we got on like a house on fire, so much so that he took me to multiple functions and flew me to Washington DC to see him in action.  I am extremely grateful to Pete’s staff that welcomed me with open arms and taught me much about American culture. 


Again, I can honestly say I learnt more about life and the world in these eight weeks than school or university has ever taught me, this is simply priceless.  I want to thank Project Children as a whole, everyone involved ranging from coordinators: Dennis, Al, Pat Costello, Gene, Tom and the wonderful JoJo (& her significant other Ray) who was always on the other end of the phone whenever I needed anything at all.  I would also like to thank the three lovely ladies which choose me for Project Children in the first place.  In addition I would like to thank Mr. King and all his staff for their kindness, tuition and friendship throughout my internship.  My family, which hosted me, their kind-heartedness is truly appreciated, my fellow interns in which many lifelong friendships have now been formed.  And last but not least, the American people for their helpfulness and interest, in particular Dan whom provided me with invaluable guidance, of whom I am still in contact with to this very day.  If I have left anyone out I sincerely apologise trying to recap all this information and putting it into one letter is extremely hard.  All in all I gained independence, self confidence, friends, life experience, a different culture and perception on life, and came home just a tad bit proud of myself for overcoming something that has taken me so long to overcome & was well overdue.  I am forever indebted to Project Children; it has almost given me a new outlook on life.  



Caoimhe McAleese

Student at the University of Ulster studying Psychology. Interned at Employment Horizons Morris County, New Jersey

"Thanks to Project Children I had the privilege of spending my summer interning at Employment Horizons, a non for profit organization situated in Morris County, New Jersey. Employment Horizons provides sufficient training and rehabilitation for individuals in various age groups with physical and mental disabilities so that they can overcome barriers of employment and seek placement in the local area. My role within the organization consisted of being part of the production department, were I supervised and motivated clients when reconditioning, sorting, labeling and inspecting popular company goods such as Cablevision, Colgate, Disney character toys and the renowned Tiffany and Co jewelry. Not only did I experience being part of the production department, I also gained insight into the contribution the rehabilitation councilors, vocational councilors/therapists and the job coaches have on each clients individual development.

Furthermore, on numerous occasions I was given a great deal of responsibility to supervise my own group of approximately 21 individuals with disabilities. This opportunity endorsed me to witness and attend to clients taking seizures, to learn sign language to communicate with the deaf and to understand each client’s unique disability. Interning at Employment Horizons has positively enhanced my career path in psychology and later hopefully in social work. I worked with the most generous, kind and welcoming people that undoubtedly love making a difference to the lives of people with disabilities.

I will forever be in debt to Project Children for providing me with this once in a life time opportunity and a special thanks to my American coordinator Al DeBenedictis and Mr and Mrs Grant for being a wonderful host family."



Ciara McGlinchey

Student at St Mary’s University Belfast studying Business Studies Teaching. Interned at the Turning Stone Resort, Syracuse

"I am currently at St Mary’s University in Belfast studying Teaching with Business Studies. This summer I interned at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Oneida, which was about 45 minutes from the City Syracuse. Turning Stone is a World-Class resort and have 5000 employees. While interning at the resort we worked in different departments every week. The Human Resources department were very helpful in trying to suit our internship to departments that would most benefit us in terms of our degrees. I spent time in the finance and marketing departments as well as graphic design. I also interned at the Early Learning Centre- the day care for employees’ children.  This internship helped me a lot, as it helped me become more confident for the Business Side of my degree, as it helped put all my theory that I have learned at University into practice; from working with the accounts of the business and seeing first hand the marketing approaches the Casino used and working with the accounts payable in the finance department and working in the Early Learning Centre also helped enhance my teaching skills.

We lived with the Matt Family who were amazing hosts, we could not have asked for better.  They lived on Oneida Lake, which was great as there was always something to do. We went out on the family boat every weekend, went Kayaking every Sunday with the neighbours, went to the beach to watch the Volleyball every Thursday and even went water Tubing on the Lake. The whole family couldn’t do enough for us and even took us to Niagara Falls, took us camping for a weekend and to an Irish festival.


Overall, I had a fantastic experience from both my internship and with my host family. I feel very lucky to have taken part in the Program and can not thank Project Children and everyone involved enough for this fantastic opportunity."



Darina Fyffe

Student at Belfast Metropolitan College studying Business. Interned at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort, Verona, New York

"I have just finished studying a HND in Business at Belfast Metropolitan College. Beginning September 2012 I hope to study a degree in Food Management with Marketing at Loughry College, Cookstown. This summer I interned at the Turning Stone Casino & Resort in Verona New York. The resort offers world-class golf, gaming, entertainment and accommodations. Since opening in 1993, Turning Stone has become a destination resort and one of the top five tourist destinations in New York state hosting more than 4 million visitors a year.

During my internship I was placed in a number of different departments - these departments included everything from Marketing and Graphic Design to Golf and VIP Promotions. Rarely were two days the same at the casino and this was perhaps what made the internship as enjoyable and interesting as it was. My co-ordinator at the casino had made a real effort to get me into departments that were relevant to my choice of degree, this allowed me to spend two weeks in the Food & Beverage department of the casino working in a number of different restaurants in both the front and back of house. This was an invaluable experience and enabled me to gain an insight into how different types of restaurants work and run. Overall the internship went very well, I enjoyed every minute of it and will take a lot away from my experience at the casino. 

Another huge part of my time spent in America was with my host family, I was placed with Brian and Theresa Matt who live near the casino on Oneida Lake. I cant begin to describe the kindness and hospitality I was shown throughout my stay with them. They were a brilliant host family and were very willing to include me in their day to day lives. I immediately felt at home and any initial reservations I had about living with a host family were soon forgotten about. The Project Children Intern Program has truly been one of the best things I have ever done. Not only did I get to experience working in industry for 8 weeks but I also got to experience daily life within a different culture. I am very thankful to have had this opportunity and feel it has given me more confidence in myself and my choice of degree."  




Dermot Dignam

Student at Queen’s University Belfast studying Common and Civil Law with French. Interned at the Law Office of Harry H. Kutner Jr., Attorney at Law

"I found my internship to be a thoroughly interesting and intellectually stimulating experience which has endowed me with a multitude of skills which will surely aid me immeasurably in my future career. Before commencing my internship, I was somewhat anxious that I would find myself in a law office dealing exclusively with unremarkable, run of the mill legal issues such as personal injury claims and mortgage transactions. Yet, quickly I found that these reservations could not have been further from the truth. While, as a general law firm, there were some cases dealing with somewhat trivial issues, Mr. Kutner dealt with a myriad of fascinating cases and it was these cases that I devoted most of my time. Such cases included the wrongful arrest of a young man accused of robbery; sexual harassment in the workplace; a racially motivated decision to block the sale of a home and commercial fishermen being prevented from fishing in Long Island due to alleged corruption within the environmental department.

Mr. Kutner allowed me to be actively involved in the development of each case and it was hugely rewarding to know that the work I was doing was of value. I often had to perform key research in order to identify and solve key legal issues within the different cases and this really honed my research skills and taught me how valuable such skills are in the legal profession. My involvement in these cases also saw me listening to 911 calls and making transcripts for these as well as analyzing CCTV footage. Furthermore, I was constantly drafting and proof reading motions as well as drafting letters to clients, the courts and other attorneys. Indeed, I was left in charge of one case where I had to converse with attorney's in Germany in order to gather information to settle a will.

Another fascinating aspect of the internship was my time spent in court. There were many occasions when I was in court and it was a great experience to watch legal proceedings unfold and also to notice the differences in comparison to our own domestic legal system. Similarly, It was brilliant to be introduced to judges and to converse with other Attorney's whilst in court. I was hugely impressed by Mr. Kutner's vehement support and loyalty towards his clients as well as his desire to see that justice be done. Mr. Kutner seemed determined to stand up for ordinary civilians against different organs of the state and it was hugely beneficial for me to see such an approach to the legal profession as I hope to follow a career in law where my legal expertise can be used as a tool to help and protect others. Cynicism is an easy characteristic to acquire in relation to the legal system and it was refreshing to see that this was not the approach of the Attorney with whom I was interning.

Overall, I have nothing but positive experiences from my internship. It has allowed me to immerse myself in the legal profession and has allowed me to develop a multitude of important skills. Similarly, it has allowed me to become more clear about the future career I wish to pursue and proof of this experience will surely help my prospects in this regard. I must thank everyone at Mr. Kutner's office as well as Project Children for such a brilliant and enjoyable opportunity."



Grainne Martin

Student at University of Ulster studying Human Resources and Management. Interned at the Plymouth Community Arts Council, Michigan

"I spent my internship in the Plymouth community arts council in Michigan. During my time I helped out in many of the community festivals where local and worldwide bands came and performed for Plymouth town. I directed and promoted the arts council speaking publicly about their great work and the summer camps they applied. I also designed an Irish culture box for the council which gave people an insight to Irish music/food and dance. Working at the council I perfected my professionalism and ability to communicate with people from all ages, I had to interact with children and adults helping them develop new skills. This has helped me a lot with my university course which is human resources and management as I have had to deal with difficult camp attendants and complaints which I helped resolve their problems.  My experience in America has been indescribable. I have learnt so much and experienced many different things I cant thank project children enough for this once and a life time opportunity." 



Hannah Lynch

Student at Queen’s University Belfast studying Law. Interned at Burke, Meile and Golden LLP in Goshen, New York

“I was interning with Burke, Meile and Golden LLP in Goshen, NY.  It was the best experience of my life.  On my very first day of work I went into Federal Court and was registered on the record as part of the defense team.  Throughout my internship I went to meetings with clients, was involved in a murder trial, and was in and out of State and Federal Court and DA's offices.  I also helped with indexing evidence and writing up case digests which were going to be used by both the Prosecution and Defense on prestigious cases.  I dealt with family, criminal, civil and financial law.  I learnt so much during my time here, and have been so impressed by the legal system over here, especially in respect to the opportunities for women.  

I stayed with the Schutz Family outside of work we went on day trips to Salem and New York city, to Yankee games, pool parties and ice cream parlors.  It was the first time that I'd spent more than a few days with any of them, and it proved to be such a great experience! 

Project Children has honestly changed my life, I thought that I would like America, but I didn't think that I'd fall in love with the place!  My plan had always been to sit the Institute exam at home but now I'm hoping to sit the New York Bar once I graduate this summer.  Everything here has been amazing - from my week in Alabama right through to the final day. I've never worked so hard, and I've had my eyes opened to all of the opportunities that there are outside of Northern Ireland, I can't wait to come back!!”



Ian Browne

Student at Omagh College Studying Industrial Electronics and Engineering with Specialisms. Interned at Calorique, New York

“I interned at a company called Calorique, which was a company that manufactured radiant heat film. I had an incredible experience working great people and getting involved in a fascinating product. I got to participate in all the areas of the company, which gave me a great understanding of the aspects that where involved in the running of this company. From participating in the manufacturing process to working with highly qualified professionals in the product development. This internship gave me a great experience working in a professional environment with great business people and highly experienced personnel. Throughout the internship I got to meet so many interesting people through my work with company and increased my self confidence in participating as part of a professional team. I got to live my weekdays in a little town of New Bedford with my work colleague  James Boydston who showed me how to be the effective part of the company but to also have a great time with help from his American Bulldog Memphis. My host family Gene and Sandy Mc Gillycuddy made me feel from the outset of my time here in America as part of their family and I had the privilege to be a part of there home in Cape Cod. I got to meet all there wonderful family and great friends and they showed all about the kindness America can offer and with them I was able to experience everything from the bustling streets of New York, to the Historical town of New Bedford, and finally to the beautiful  Cape Cod. And I like to express my gratitude to each and every one of them.”



James O'Neill



Jayne Lynch

Student at Liverpool University studying Medicine. Interned at the Good Samaritan Hospital, New York

“I was interning in Good Samaritan Hospital, in a town twenty minutes from New York City. I study medicine and was very interested in seeing how the healthcare system differed from home and wanted to get lots of experience with patients. I spent most of my time in the Emergency Room shadowing various doctors. I was popping in and out of patient's rooms seeing all sorts of people, hearing their stories and observing as the doctor helped them. I learnt a lot, from different clinical techniques to talking to and dealing with people in lots of different situations. Everyone I met there was very helpful and they went out of their way to make sure I was enjoying myself and learning a lot.

Of course, the trip wasn't all work and learning! I got to go lots of places - a Broadway show, concerts in Central Park, day trips away and hanging out with our new friends. I absolutely loved the way of life there and I'm really sad it's over now! I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the incredible program Project Children is. The co-ordinator Denis and the rest of the team made sure we were happy and looked after, I always felt so welcome. After this experience I will be singing Project Children's praises to everyone, it really has been incredible; I didn't want it to end!”



Joanne Raey

Student at University of Ulster studying Law and Criminology. Interned at the Binghamton City Court, New York

“My name is Joanne Reay. I study law and criminology at University of Ulster, Jordanstown. I had the opportunity to go to the city of Binghamton in the State of New York. My internship was split into two. For the first three weeks I was working within the City Courts. This gave me the opportunity to go to court everyday and spend some time with judges. I was tasked with doing legal research and drafting motions. It was great to get a perspective of the different legal systems that operate in the different jurisdictions. For the next four weeks I was doing an internship with the Attorney Generals office. This meant that I got to deal with cases first hand and research the particular issues that presented themselves. It also gave me the opportunity to go to the various different courts, including County Court and Federal Court. I was introduced to a variety of judges who gave me their perspective on the legal system operating. The experience I have gained has been invaluable and I cannot thank Project Children enough. My host family was amazing and couldn’t have done enough for me. I know that the experience I have gained will help me in the future. It has also helped me realize what my future goals are and what I want to achieve.” 



Katy Boyle

When I first applied for Project children, I had absolutely no idea what lay ahead nor would I have predicted the lasting friendships I would make. Heading off to America amongst a group of thirty strangers is to say the least, a tad daunting. However, on arrival in Alabama, the sheer shock that these natural disasters affect so many people across the US to that extent was something I will never forget and it was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences I have ever taken part in. Helping these people meant so much to them as well as their communities and the kindness that was shown to every one of us for simply giving of our time was amazing.

I was placed in a residential school for boys called the Children’s Village in New York along with two other interns. Children and young adults are sent here for various reasons including being withdrawn from homes or because of juvenile offences. I was placed in an elementary classroom of 8 students and the teacher I was shadowing was very helpful and supportive . She ensured that I got the most out of this experience allowing me to help and enable the children with their work and indeed giving them an insight into my life by giving them a lesson on Ireland and my own hometown which is so far removed from their lives growing up in New York City. Although this was a very challenging time as I seen so much from these students, my aim was to try and highlight the importance of education and I believe that both myself and the students took a lot away from when they performed well in their work acknowledging their ability to accomplish something.

The experience as a whole would not have been the same without our co-ordinator Eugene McGillycuddy. He ensured that we got the most out of New York City and encouraged me every step of the way to really benefit from this experience. He is a true gent. Everyone involved in the Project Children Team work tirelessly to ensure that students can have a once in a life time opportunity with the best group of people. An unforgettable experience with unforgettable people!


Kirsty Gillen

Student at South West College studying Creative Media Production. Interned at Galaxy Communications Radio Station.

“My name is Kirsty Gillen and I was interning at Galaxy Communications Radio station in Syracuse NY. For the 6weeks i was at the station I got to experience so many different areas within radio such as Sales, Production and promotions. I had the opportunity to go on-air with some of the different radio stations such TK99, KRock and Sunny 102; this taught me a lot about how on-air works and how the production side of things off air works. I then worked 3 different festivals such as Krockathon, Bluemoon Afternoon and Fireworks over Central new York, each festival had around 3,000-20,000 people, this was amazing to help organize and work as i met new people and learned how to promote and set up a festival. The people i worked with where so nice and treated me very well, they were very helpful and was always willing to teach me new things

My host family i stayed with was the Matt family in Sylvin Beach, Brain and Theresa were the most caring and loving people i have ever met. They have three children and they were also very caring and fun to hang out with. The family made sure that myself and two other interns i was staying with had the best experience we could have. We stayed on a lake which had a beautiful view and they also owned their own boat which we frequently spent wonderful evenings on. I have grown so close to the family that i call them my second family, i have already made plans to visit them next year.

This experience has helped shaped my life; I feel more motivated and empowered to do better in life. It has helped me to realize that radio is something that I may want to do in the future. I will never forget the people I’ve met on the project and the experiences I’ve had, I would recommend anyone to sign up for project Children intern as it will change your life.”



Laura Neill

Student at Belfast Metropolitan College studying Journalism. Interned at the Irish Examiner, New York

"My six weeks placement with Project Children has been a once in a lifetime experience. I hit the jackpot of getting to work in Manhattan NY, something many people at our age never experience, as well as being able to gain experience in my desired career of a newsroom environment. My pieces were published and shall be invaluable for my portfolio. Paddy McCarthy, my newspaper publisher was excellent in lining me up with stories and interviews, not being afraid to give me hands on experience. He likes to throw you in at the deep end! Highlights included attending the Our Land Festival launch in the Irish Ambassadors Residence on the 52nd floor, of which the views from are extraordinary. I also got to attend the Irish Examiners "Irish Women of the Year" awards and to do a cover story on the winner Attracta Lyndon, for the newspaper which got centre spread. I even got to interview a multi millionaire restaurant tycoon Buzzy O'Keefe and Irish Celebrity chef Conrad Gallagher. 

It was not all work and no play however and my host family and area co-coordinator Tom Kinirions and Joanne Gallagher where excellent. I believe they would do anything for you, true hearts of gold. Educational trips to Nassau Police Academy where arranged as well as 4th of July party's and day trips to Fire Island for pleasure. The hospitality within the working and home environment of these people is incredible and I would like to thank Dennis for the time and effort he puts into this program. It has taught me the importance of friendship and networking.

I would recommend anyone to apply for the program today!"



Leanne Millar

Student at Queen’s University Belfast studying Business Management. Interned at the Irish Echo, New York

“The Irish Echo office is situated downtown in the Financial District, which is a great area for things to do and see on your lunch break or after work. Wall Street and Ground zero are all within walking distance and the Statue of Liberty is easy to get to. The people in the office are great; they made me feel very welcome and were willing to answer any questions I had. I was set up with a company email account, which I used to email customers about upcoming events that the newspaper where having. The Irish Echo runs many different events, such as the top 40 under 40, Labor 50 and Irish Dancing supplements. The office is always quite busy, especially on a Monday or Tuesday before the paper goes to print. I got some great experience dealing with subscriptions, and was introduced to the computer systems the company uses for their payments. I was also trusted to deposit cheques and money orders. Although my internship was sales and marketing the editors kindly allowed me to write a story about the time I spent in Tuscaloosa with Habitat for Humanity and published it. Working with this company was great experience and I loved every minute of it.”



Leonia Mimnagh

Student at Stranmillis University College Belfast studying Early Childhood Studies. Interned at the Children’s Village, Dobbs Ferry

“What an unforgettable summer!! I took up an internship in the Children’s Village (C.V.), Dobbs Ferry, New York with two other interns. I would describe C.V. as a detention centre for delinquent juveniles with severe emotional and social problems. During my time there I lived in a cottage opposite the juveniles and worked mutually in the pre-school and the elementary school. During the first week I was trained in ‘crisis management’. This proved very useful as the children suffered melt downs several times a day that consequently resulted in physical fights with their peers and staff. The overall internship pushed my emotional bounders to the limit but overall it was a great learning curve. As I wish to become a teacher, I grasped knowledge of the American curriculum, I also learned how to recognize and prevent triggers that contribute to individuals ‘crisis’ which I’m sure will be beneficial in my future career. Our coordinator, Eugene McGillycuddy took us out of C.V. most weekends to site see, travel and experience the ‘America Dream’.   This experience brought me to America for the first time where I made lifelong friends and worked with wonderful people. I will never forget this chapter of my life. Thank you Project Children.”     



Mairiosa McGourty

Student at Queen’s University Belfast studying Law. Interned at the Morris County Prosecutors Office, New Jersey

“This summer I interned in the Morris County Prosecutors Office in New Jersey. During the 6 weeks I gained a valuable insight into how the legal system works in America. I met Prosecutor Bianchi, which proved extremely beneficial, as he talked about the differences in the law between Europe and America. We worked on a range of different projects such as helping the assistant prosecutors with transcripts, working on case files, writing legal briefs, listening to interviews and viewing the sentencing process for murder trails in the Court. Court was always interesting. While in Court we sat in on bail hearings, re-trial hearings and drug court along with sentencing each Friday. Each week we were led out on visits; we went to the K-9 Unit, the Bomb Squad, CSI, the Secret Service and the Police Academy. These trips were interesting and fun as we were able to participate in some of the exercises. The experience I had at the Prosecutors Office was invaluable as it enhanced my legal skills and learning which has now confirmed my decision to practice law.

During my time in Morristown I stayed with the Kostyak family. They were such a wonderful, generous and caring family who I will be forever great full to for giving me such a fabulous experience. From the first time I stepped foot in their home they made me feel welcome and at ease. They brought me to work each morning and picked me up in the afternoon. In the evening we would have dinner and then go for coffee, to the cinema or for ‘Froyo’ in Morristown. At the weekends we went out for dinner, to Theme Parks, Shopping Outlets, into New York and Baseball Games. Project Children afforded me this wonderful opportunity which has been the best summer of my life. I hope to return to America again in the near future.”



Niamh McCourt


Student at Queen’s University Belfast studying Common and Civil Law with French. Interned at the Morris County Prosecutors Office.

“This summer Mairiosa McGourty and I had the privilege of interning at the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office in Morristown, New Jersey. Over the seven weeks, legal work was assigned to us by the Assistant Prosecutors and field trips were organized to the Police Academy, the CIS and the Bomb Squad, Communications and K-9 Units. As well as this, we had several meetings with agents from the Secret Service and the County Prosecutor himself. The Courthouse is adjoined to the Prosecutor’s Office, making it possible for me and Mairiosa to witness various proceedings in criminal, civil and family courts on a daily basis. Therefore not only did it enable me to ingratiate myself with prosecutors, but also with other American legal interns, defense attorneys, detectives, judges and probation officers. All of whom offered me endless advice and kindness over the seven weeks.

I am leaving America with a clearer idea of my future career and a greater knowledge and passion for the law. Furthermore, it has confirmed my decision to work abroad and return to the U.S. as soon as possible. Without doubt, I have had the best summer of my life: I have made some of my favorite memories and met some of my favorite people and so I am forever indebted to Project Children for granting me such an incredible opportunity.”



Ronan McIlvenny

Student at Queen's University Belfast studying Politics, Philosophy & Economics. Interned at The Children's Village

“I spent six weeks working in Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry, Westchester County. Children's village is a residential school which houses over a hundred children from New York City. The residents mainly boys are there for various reasons, some come from very unprivileged backgrounds and others are there on a compulsory basis. My internship involved working in the recreation department of Children's village. I mainly worked with a camp that arrived every morning from Harlem. I organized sporting activities every afternoon and worked with these children who ranged in ages from 6-12. After they left I spent the rest of the day working with the children who lived on campus who ranged from 11-18. I assisted with the activities that were organized including basketball, softball, soccer, mountain biking and table tennis among others. The experience I had was very beneficial for as I am starting a PGCE this year. Getting to know the children and forming friendships and bonds was a very enriching experience for me.  

Away from Children's Village I had the opportunity to experience so many different things in New York at the weekends. The highlights for me were the New York Yankees and New York Mets games we went to and the view from the top of the Empire State Building looking down on the city. Getting to know all the other interns has been great the last six weeks and developing friendships that will continue when we get home has been brilliant. I've had a brilliant experience in the states and can't believe just how quickly the time out here has gone.”



Sean McConnell

Student from Omagh College. Interned at Engler Electric, Utica, New York

“For my internship I worked for the electrical contractor Engler Electric in Utica, New York. During my internship I worked with the company’s delivery team getting to know all the tools and materials and dropping them of at various work sights around Utica. I also got the chance to work in the F.X Matt brewery in Utica on a big waste water bio digester project which Engler Electric was working on. I worked mainly on the electrical end of this project and learned a grate deal about electrical work and about the workings of the Waste Water Bio Digester.

Over my stay I was fortunate enough to stay with the Engler family. They took me in to there home and made me feel like one of the family. I really enjoyed my stay with them they took me many places and I even got to stay a night in Canada at Niagara Falls. I am truly thankful to the Engler family for everything they have done for me.

I am very grateful to project children for this experience and for giving me the chance to go to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to work on the habitat for humanity houses. I will always be a part of project children thanks to them I have many new friends for life.”



Sophie McDonald

Student at Queen’s University Belfast studying Business Information Technology. Interned at Full Circle Solutions Group.

“My internship was with the Full Circle Solutions Group in Pennsylvania. I spent 6 weeks with the people at this IT company, who all contributed to exposing me to both the IT and business world. I spent time with the networking department, sales, marketing and document managing and can come away saying that I have learnt more than I imagined and was able to actively see how the theory of my degree is put into practice in the real world. My host family, the Kaufmans, made my stay in Pennsylvania so much easier than I expected. They went out of their way to welcome me into their home and made sure to expose me to the American way of life. They were kind enough to bring me to Hersheypark, Washington D.C, Baltimore and had lots of other activities for me throughout the summer.

The McGillycuddy family also played a major part in my stay in America this summer. Gene McGillycuddy, a friend of Project Children and volunteer for habitat for humanity, hosted myself and a few of the other interns for some of the nights we stayed in New York, and was kind enough to open up his holiday home in Cape Cod to us for the weekend. I couldn’t thank him enough for his generosity and the hospitality of his family; it truly made my experience in America better than I could have ever hoped. My summer in America was an unforgettable and amazing experience that I would recommend any student with the desire to travel to take part in.”



Shannon Dunseath

Student at Queen’s University Belfast studying psychology. Interned at the Aisling Irish Community Center, New York

“My experience with project children was an unforgettable one to say the least. As a group of strangers 29 interns met at the airport, full of nerves and excitement for the summer that lay ahead. Once we reached New York 20 of us were lucky enough to be able to fly on the Alabama to be able to volunteer for habitat for humanity it was most definitely am experience that opened my eyes, as you here about these disasters on the news all the time but can’t really contemplate there impact until you see the devastation first hand. It was a week of extremely early starts and exhaustingly long days with heat I’ve never experienced before, yet the fun we had and friendships we made in just one week could not be matched, we became our own wee family.

Then it was time to say goodbye as we all went our separate ways to start our internships. I interned in the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers it is a fully fledged social services organisation that delivers a vital range of social, educational and recreational services for the entire community. At the Aisling Center one of my first tasks to help run the summer camp. We worked with a group of 25 children ranging in age from 4-10. We worked hard to create a schedule that entertained the youngest child to the oldest which was no easy task however everyone had fun and I can say I learnt a lot form the experience.

I also go the chance to participate in the seniors group who met twice a week in the center. I gained a deeper understanding of the senior community and the problems they are facing. They also provided me with great laughs and stories of there immigration to America. Finally I assisted in the administrative duties particularly those concerning the J-1 students me being one myself I was able to relate to the problems they were having and it was great to be able to help them find solutions. All the tasks I have completed within my internship have brought about issues that I have studied within my degree such as their Alcoholism, aging and the development of children it was fantastic to see first hand how these problems are dealt with in a professional manner. I also volunteered with their feeding the homeless program were you met people from all walks of life, from many different disadvantaged backgrounds I found this experience particularly insightful and humbling to be a part of. Project children have provided me with a summer of a lifetime and life experiences that will stand me in good stead for my future career and for this I can’t thank them enough.”