Brooklyn’s horrific death gave Sonia a different purpose to life

first_imgNewsCommunityBrooklyn’s horrific death gave Sonia a different purpose to lifeBy David Raleigh – January 16, 2020 22065 Print Advertisement WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival WhatsApp Previous articleFESTIVAL: Music MindsNext articleShannon set to become top European testing ground for driverless vehicles David Raleigh Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Donal Ryan names Limerick Ladies Football team for League opener Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash center_img Facebook RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Email Linkedin Twitter TAGSCommunitylimerickLimerick City and CountyNewssonia aylmer Sonia Aylmer, mother of Brooklyn Colbert. Photo: Cian ReinhardtLAST November, Limerick was shocked by the killing of 11-year old Brooklyn Colbert.In her first interview since her son’s death, Sonia Aylmer tells David Raleigh of her plans to honour Brooklyn by giving back to those who helped provide a pathway out of homelessness and of her hopes of helping others through the trauma of losing a child.Sonia Aylmer smiles as she recalls how she would playfully tease her son by constantly taking photographs and videos of him on her mobile phone, so she would have a lasting collage of memories recorded of him growing up into the man she knew she would be proud of.“I’m so glad I have all those photos and videos now. Brooklyn was very caring, he was like a protector, he had a great heart, he was very soft,” says Sonia.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up “He loved animals as well; He thought his dog ‘Buddy’ was his brother, he loved the dog, they were always together.”She raises a smile remembering how Brooklyn and Buddy, were thick as thieves, planning their adventures together.Brooklyn was a dedicated Liverpool fan, and after hearing news of his death, the Premier League Club’s Chaplain Bill Bygroves sent Sonia a letter of “sincerest condolences, on behalf of everybody associated with Liverpool Football Club, the directors, manager, players, and staff”.“It was lovely to get, it was a surprise, I didn’t know I was getting that. It just shows the impact that Brooklyn had,” Sonia says.“Brooklyn was ill when he was a baby. He was born with a cleft palate, and so he was up and down to Temple Street Children’s Hospital for assessments, and I got a letter from them as well.“They remembered Brooklyn and his personality, and they wrote me a lovely letter about the memories they had of him, and the things he had said to them. He was a very funny child and very witty.”The letters are nice, she says. They confirm what she already knew, how Brooklyn would have “a great impact” on anyone who met him.“He had such a lovely aura about him, a lovely personality. He’d be delighted with Liverpool now they’re doing so well,” she adds.Sonia says the past ten weeks, following Brooklyn’s death, have obviously been “horrendous”.However, with the help of her friends and family members and the Novas organisation, she has been “taking baby steps”, as she tries to process and cope with such heartbreaking loss.“I just feel Brooklyn is giving me strength from somewhere,” she says.That strength shone out from Sonia’s and Brooklyn’s shared love of running.The 36-year-old has her sights set on participating in the Great Limerick Run next May, an event which the Limerick mother and son have taken part in on a number of occasions together.“The main reason is for Brooklyn, because myself and Brooklyn always took part in it. Brooklyn loved to do the Kids Limerick Run. One year he did it twice, so he got two medals that day. He loved it, he loved training.”“He also loved training with his Dad. They’d go running along the riverbanks. He was a very energetic child, and it was something he loved to do. So this is to keep his memory alive and for me to do something positive for Brooklyn,” she adds.“Himself and his Dad had a great relationship, and they used to always be training together, running together and they’d go for a swim. They were like best friends, so he is heartbroken as well.”“I’m focusing on the Run and training, and, knowing that I have to do it to make Brooklyn proud. It has been good for my mental health as well, I know he’d be very proud of me to do it.”“Brooklyn was into his sports, he played with Pike Rovers and Ballynanty FC, and he did some boxingWe used to box together in the Hub in Thomondgate, and he was better than me with the moves. We’d often partner up together as well. It was lovely.”Sonia also wants to run in order to raise awareness about the Novas charity, which helps people who have become homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless.It’s a cause close to her heart.“Myself and Brooklyn were in our home for five years and we became homeless as our landlord wanted to move back in. That was about two years ago. We were fighting to stay in our home as long as we could,” she explains.“I got in touch with Novas and they put me in the right direction, they were very good to us.”Sonia and Brooklyn ended up living in a hotel for about two months, but their “unbreakable bond” ensured they remained resilient in the face of their adversity.Thankfully, Sonia says, Brooklyn took the ordeal mostly in his stride, joking he was like the movie character “Kevin”, played by then child actor Macaulay Culkin who finds himself staying in the five-star Plaza Hotel, New York, in the 1992 adventure comedy “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York”.“Brooklyn was a very easy going child so he never complained about it. We were in the hotel for about eight weeks, and while we were there Novas helped us with our washing and provided tokens for the launderette. You spend a lot of money in a hotel as well, so they gave us vouchers to get our dinner cheaper in Our Lady of Lourdes community centre.“Novas were very helpful with ringing landlords. They were brilliant in every way, and since Brooklyn has passed, they have been a massive help to me.”Sonia singles out Julie McKenna, a senior project executive with Novas, for special praise.“Julie has been helping me, and being there for me, she got me through Christmas, she got me over it,” Sonia says.“At the time we were made homeless, we didn’t know where to turn to. I didn’t know where to go, and we didn’t have anywhere to stay. My family live in England, and so me and Brooklyn…well, Brooklyn had his dad… but in terms of stability for me and Brooklyn, I didn’t have anywhere to go.“It was a blessing that I had Novas to do that for me. That’s why I’m so passionate about giving back to them and to try to do the fundraising for them.”“I know Brooklyn would love to give back, I know he’d love that, that he’d have something to do with giving back to Novas. He wasn’t embarrassed hat he was homeless. He told his friends and his teacher at school, he was very grounded, very happy.”No matter where they lived, as long as they were a pair, Sonia and Brooklyn were “happy”.Their hopes were answered last October when they secured a home with Novas’s help, through Limerick City and County Council.The celebrations were poignantly short-lived with Brooklyn’s untimely death on November 3.Sonia Aylmer with Brooklyn ColbertSonia says: “We got the house in October but I still haven’t moved in yet. I’m finding it kind of difficult to move in and start another chapter without Brooklyn, but I’m in and out of it doing it up.“Last week I took a step forward by going back to work, so maybe in the next few weeks, I’ll take another step forward by moving into the house.”“Brooklyn was in the house and he picked out his bedroom so I will still do up the room up for him and there will still be a part of him in the house.”Sonia’s work as a mentor with Limerick Sports Partnership, helping others move on from trauma and their own individual experiences through exercise, has also helped her own mental health.She continues to battle the “bad days” and greets the good days with a positive smile.Sonia says her “whole world crashed” when she was told Brooklyn had died.“Brooklyn was more than my son, he was my best friend, he was like the other part of me, we were inseparable. It was like my whole world ended.”“I have a good circle of friends and they’re getting me through it, and my uncle who reared me with my nana has been a massive support too.”Prayer has also sustained her faith that Brooklyn’s spirit remains close to her.“I go to the church most days and I talk to Brooklyn and I light a candle. Me and Brooklyn used to light candles in the church, it was a thing that we did. I have his picture in the Augustinians Church, so I go in there and I light a candle and I have a chat with him.”“It only came to me the other day that the Great Limerick Run finishing line is just after we pass that church, so it’ll be nice. It will mean something to have it finished outside the church, where his picture is, it’ll be nice, it’ll be special.”“I feel him with me, I still do. We had so much of a bond. The bond we had can’t just be gone, it can’t just be broken. I believe we still have that bond, and I think he is guiding me stronger than ever.BROOKLYN Colbert wasn’t the only child to benefit from the work of Novas over the last two years with 2018 ranking as the worst year on record for the number of children helped by the Limerick charity.Novas senior project executive Julie McKenna said it was the first time they worked with over a thousand children in Limerick, Tipperary, Dublin, Cork and Kerry.“In Limerick, alone we supported 592 children and these were children who were homeless or at risk of being homeless.”“We really are up against it and we are really humbled that Sonia would consider to give back to Novas despite everything that she is experiencing at the moment, and that she wants Brooklyn’s memory to live on through giving back to Novas.”“We are very thankful for that, and very thankful for everybody that is supporting her, and gathering momentum, and getting involved in the race as well including Limerick Sports Partnership and her friends.”Paying tribute to Sonia and Brooklyn’s courage, she addds: “We are so thankful and very privileged to know Sonia, and to have known Brooklyn and worked with him. He was a kid with a spark about him and he left an impact and a memory wherever he went. So, it’s lovely to be involved in this and keeping his memory alive.”“We will continue to support Sonia, I know her a long time, and I would have went to Sonia on the night Brooklyn passed away, and we would touch in and out with one another, and that will continue as long as she needs it.I’m proud to be part of an organisation that does that, it’s the least we can do,” Ms McKenna added. Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live last_img read more

New Zealand grid operator sees big potential for rooftop solar

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Transpower, New Zealand’s state-owned transmission grid operator, says falling solar and storage costs have sparked interest in PV for a market already well served by wind and hydro power.The nation already uses renewable energy for almost 90% of its electricity demand, according to live transmission data on Transpower’s website, but PV is not even listed among the clean energy technologies in operation.According to the grid operator, there are bigger investment opportunities ahead as New Zealand’s electricity demand is set to rise, due to increasing electrification industrial processes and mobility, in line with the country’s Paris Agreement obligations. In its new Te Mauri Hiko Energy Futures report, the grid operator forecasts electricity generation will almost double between now and 2050.New Zealand has installed 85 MW of solar to date, nearly half of which has been added in the last two years in more densely populated areas, such as Auckland and Canterbury.The report stresses the potential for residential solar – being adopted at a rapid rate in neighboring Australia – is huge. With 1.8 million residential households and 300,000 businesses, the authors claim 11 GW of new PV could be installed. That number would only grow over time, as there is a need for new homes in New Zealand, and solar equipment is making efficiency advances. By 2050, the report’s authors say, the potential for rooftop PV could be around 27 GW.More: New Zealand identifies 11 GW solar potential New Zealand grid operator sees big potential for rooftop solarlast_img read more

Women in leadership positions in credit unions: Making tough decisions

first_imgShould I quit my job or stay where I am? Should I have cereal for dinner, or is it really only for breakfast? Should I put my bonus check in the bank or reward myself for a job well done? We are regularly faced with choices. For the more significant decisions, we may carefully consider the possibilities. Yet some decisions seem so easy we wonder if there could be a catch, so we analyze those as well. We probably all have experienced times of complete mental overwhelm, when it feels as if we cannot possibly make one more decision in that moment.When my daughter was out on her own and would be in town on business, she would ask me on occasion where I wanted to meet her for dinner, I would automatically say, “It doesn’t matter. Whatever restaurant you want to go to is fine with me.” There were some problems with that reply. First, I am a vegetarian so it actually did matter. Second, not any place is fine with me because I do not enjoy over-the-top restaurants or ones with a two-hour wait. I found that I was conveying that my opinion didn’t matter to me when, in fact, it did. I rationalized that it wasn’t worth risking having an argument about dinner. After all, I love my daughter so much, don’t see her that often, and was taught to pick my battles. Of course, not making a decision is also a choice. Occasionally my choice to avoid choosing led to the disagreement I was trying to avoid.I began considering other situations where I took a back seat by not expressing my preference or making a decision. Just because the matter at hand wasn’t earth shattering, did that mean I shouldn’t express myself? How might others view my indecisiveness?I know I am not alone in my now former habit of disregarding my interests and avoiding making a decision. Many women do this throughout their personal and professional lives. Sure, it can be satisfying to collaborate, solicit opinions, and receive support from others, but as a leader you have to take a stand and make decisions even when it is uncomfortable. Being decisive does not mean you are a control freak or that everything must go your way or the highway. It simply means you make a decision. You may not end up loving all your decisions. Mistakes or missteps are inevitable, but the people that work with and for you likely will appreciate a leader who creates opportunities by being decisive.While great decisions can lead to terrific results, decisions that are less than great can create opportunities for valuable lessons learned. Some people refer to this as course correcting. When this happens to me, I like to have a little fun with it by declaring, “Plot twist!”In an article in the New York Times, Therese Huston reviews studies that answer the question, “Are Women Better Decision Makers?” The studies show that, under stress, there are gender differences and women tend to perform better. In stressful situations, women typically take smaller, measured risks and are more able to consider another person’s perspective. Men tend to take bigger risks for bigger wins, even when they are more costly and unlikely. She concludes with a study that revealed large-cap companies with at least one woman on their boards significantly outperformed comparable companies with all-male boards. There you have it.  Here are some ideas about making those difficult decisions for yourself: First, listen to your gut. Many of us refer to this as our sixth sense. When you are meeting someone or trying to make a serious decision, your gut can be a valuable barometer … if you listen to it. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that choosing to disregard or go against my gut wreaks havoc, or at a minimum, causes considerable stress. Once when I was offered a contract to provide training for a company, I was initially super excited about it and too hastily agreed to do it. After I sat down and more fully considered the opportunity (that I had already said yes to), I had to admit it had nothing to do with my Selling In A Skirt brand or my material. Even though the terms of the contract were great on paper, my gut was yelling at me to step away from the assignment. At first I tried to ignore my gut and rationalize I could make the assignment work. But I couldn’t overlook the back pains, stomachaches, and the feeling I can only describe as an alien screaming inside me. When I decided to go back to the company and respectfully explain why I needed to decline the contract, my gut was happy again and so was I. Now it’s time to gather all the facts. To make an informed decision, learn as much as you can. I am not talking about running a background check on a potential date. Rather, I am referring to big decisions like changing careers or investigating medical treatment options. Being informed is being responsible. Next, use the trusty method of writing down a list of pros and cons. Not only can this help clarify factors in the decision you are facing, it may also uncover additional possibilities.After I make my lists, I check back in with my gut. Then I take full responsibility for my decision.I encourage you to do the same. Especially as a leader, it is imperative that you take responsibility for your decisions. While you may want to talk things over with trusted colleagues or friends during your decision-making process, remember that ultimately the choice you make is your own. Make sure you are making the best decision you can with the information you have and not taking an easy way out to avoid leaving your comfort zone.Finally, give yourself permission to make mistakes. No one is perfect. Attempting to be is impossible and exhausting. If you make a mistake, make a change. I always say that every mistake I have made has been a lesson learned. I bet you will not make the same mistake twice, and if you do, perhaps there was another lesson embedded in it. I have developed my own system to check-in, check-up and check-out. It’s my 3Rs… Review, Readjust, and Release.  I’m sure you will realize that the Release portion is the hardest and that goes right back to where we started…making those tough decisions.Remember, when you need to make a hard decision flip a coin. Why? Because when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you are hoping for. 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Judy Hoberman Men and women sell, manage, recruit and supervise differently.  Judy Hoberman, creator of “Selling in a Skirt”, shares essential insights about gender differences and how to embrace and use those … Web: www.sellinginaskirt.com Detailslast_img read more

Chinese authorities take over closed US consulate in Chengdu

first_imgTensionsTensions have soared between the world’s two biggest economic powers on a range of fronts including trade, China’s handling of the novel coronavirus and a tough new security law for Hong Kong, with US officials warning of a “new tyranny” from China.The last Chinese diplomats left the Houston consulate last Friday, with officials there seen loading large sacks of documents and other items onto trucks, and throwing some in bins.Beijing said Saturday that US agents “forcibly” entered the Houston consulate, which it said was “China’s national property”.Its statement warned that “China will make a proper and necessary response in this regard”.Nationalistic tabloid the Global Times warned in an editorial Monday that if Washington was “determined to push China-US ties in the worst direction… the 21st century will be darker and even more explosive than the Cold War era”.It said the rising tensions could lead to “unprecedented catastrophe”. Chinese authorities took over the United States consulate in Chengdu on Monday, the foreign ministry said, days after Beijing ordered it to close in retaliation for the shuttering of its mission in Houston.Earlier in the morning state broadcaster CCTV showed footage of the American flag being lowered, after diplomatic tensions soared between the two powers with both alleging the other had endangered national security.Beijing later confirmed the consulate had closed at 10am (0200 GMT). “Afterwards, Chinese authorities entered through the front entrance and took it over,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.Relations deteriorated in recent weeks in a Cold War-style standoff, with the Chengdu mission Friday ordered to shut in retaliation for the forced closure of Beijing’s consulate in Houston, Texas.Both consulates closed 72 hours after the original order was made.The road leading to the Chengdu mission was closed on Monday, with police and cordons blocking the way. State media reported that staff members had left the compound at around 6 am Monday morning.Over the weekend, removal trucks entered the site and cleaners were seen carting large black rubbish bags from the consulate, and on Saturday AFP reporters saw workers removing the US insignia from the front of the building.A constant stream of onlookers in the city of 16.5 million flowed past the building over the weekend, many taking photos.The US consulate in the city covered China’s southwest, including Tibet. Many Tibetans accuse the central government of religious repression and eroding their culture.Beijing says closing the consulate was a “legitimate and necessary response to the unreasonable measures by the United States”, and has alleged that staff at the diplomatic mission endangered China’s security and interests.Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters that some US staff in the Chengdu consulate “were engaged in activities outside of their capacity, interfered in China’s internal affairs, and endangered China’s security and interests”.Washington officials, meanwhile, said there had been unacceptable efforts by the Chinese consulate in Houston to steal US corporate secrets and proprietary medical and scientific research. Topics :last_img read more