“The biggest achievement is when girls take ownership of their own behaviour, and admit that they have hurt others. Usually it helps not just those who are bullied, but also those who bully.”
Growing up is tough, we’ve all been through enough personal struggles to know that, and sometimes it’s not just what life throws at you that can make the journey difficult. Unfortunately, many of us will be hurt or bullied by others, or perhaps we’ve been the one to bully. Everyone is going through their problems and lashing out can be a way for people to feel like they’ve regained some element of control in their lives. For the victim, bullying can have an untold impact and it can be very hard to find your voice when you are being harassed by those around you. GirlCrew Dublin member, Tammy Darcy, is hoping to give a voice to others through Shona. This organisation is built on sharing advice, knowledge and support. For Tammy, this project stemmed from personal experience. “I was badly bullied in school, just by one person, but it systematically destroyed any confidence, trust or ambition that I had. I retreated and tried to be invisible for a number of years before I realised what had happened and started to heal. That shouldn’t have happened to me, or to anyone else.” By taking the necessary steps to turn her own life around, Tammy realised that so many others were in the same boat and she felt there was a need for a project that tackled this head on. “I developed an anti-bullying workshop for school, but when doing research, I learned that one in four Irish teenagers suffer from depression and anxiety, and that number is growing.” Through working with teens Tammy and her team hope to make a positive impact on the mental health of Irish youth, and have done so by celebrating differences. “It seems that girls are struggling, so I developed a non-profit website called www.shona.ie, and invited lots of people to offer advice, share their stories, and celebrate their differences, and to help each other out.” At GirlCrew we are all about women helping women, so if you’ve a story that you’d like to share with the project make sure you get in touch with Tammy and the team at www.shona.ie. You never know what can resonate with others in the same position.
1) What is the best thing about your role?
I have never once had any negative feedback, People can see that this organisation is needed, and are quick to get behind it. I also know that it helps people. I’ve had lots of private messages from girls who said that our website just helps them get their head around their own challenges, and put a language behind it, so they can ask for help.
2) What did you find most challenging about it?
You can’t half do a job like this, you have to be all in, 24/7. I have to stay informed of what’s going on, and work very hard to make sure that I have really qualified experts both providing advice on the site, and also governing it as a non-profit.
3) What is your proudest work related achievement to date?
Every workshop I deliver is a proud moment. I can see there are tensions bubbling under the surface in every classroom I enter, and it doesn’t take long for girls to get emotional. The biggest achievement is when girls take ownership of their own behaviour, and admit that they have hurt others. Usually it helps not just those who are bullied, but also those who bully.
4) What would be your one tip to others who want to get involved in this industry?
Do your homework. I took three years to research this project, and refined, evaluated and improved it until I was blue in the face. Also, you need to have a business head if you want to really develop it. I just completed an MA in Business Management with a focus on Social Enterprise, and it not only gave me tools, but also gave me a network of people who support me as they know I’m legit.
5) What would be your motto in life, and in work?
Stop making excuses and get it done. I really value a strong work ethic and try to instill it in my kids.
6) What’s your favourite thing about being in GirlCrew?
A number of years ago, I moved to the back of beyond in the middle of nowhere. I found it very hard to meet people and settle. I was a new mother and really struggled while my husband was in work all day. People are nice and will chat but I found it so hard to take it from small talk to asking “would you like to get a coffee?”. I wish I’d been a part of a group like this back then!