The Rainbow Club is run by an amazing team made up of Management, staff and volunteers. Take the chance learn more about some of the great people who work with us below!
Karen O’Mahony founded the Rainbow Club Cork Centre for Autism in 2015 with her husband Jon. They had struggled for many years to access services for their two sons Stephen and Sean. They found nowhere that could give their children an opportunity to learn social skills with their peers. Determined that children and families should not be missing out on the opportunity to enjoy childhood they began to work to create a model that could combine learning social skills, building skills to overcome the challenges of autism with the chance to have fun and make friends. They knew that for many families isolation was a huge and heartbreaking part of the experience of dealing with a diagnosis. They realised that creating a community was going to be a crucial part of their work. Beginning with just a handful of other families, in just five years Karen has built an organisation that supports more than 400 children and their families every week. Over that time she has worked tirelessly to raise funds and build a staff of professionals and volunteers to provide crucial services in a thriving community hub. The overwhelming success of the Centre is a testament to Karen’s relentless drive and capacity to maximise limited resources. Karen is inspired every day by her boys to keep learning and keep trying. She understands the challenges faced by parents and carers who are trying to believe in themselves and find the courage they need to support their children. She believes that every child and family at the Centre is unique, special and deserves someone to fight for them and be there for them. Karen’s passion and vision are the driving force behind the Centre, as she inspires the staff and the families to have hope and determination to create a brighter future for children with autism in Ireland.
Leah holds a Level 7 Bachelors Degree in Social Care from CIT, and a Level 6 QQI in Psychosocial Awareness and Training and a Level 5 QQI Applied Psychology and Social Studies from Cork College of Commerce.
She has been trained in Child First, has Epilepsy & Seizure training, First Aid, Manual Handling, Autism Studies Course, and Leah previously volunteered with Rainbow Club in 2017.
Jessica joined us in July 2020 as a Room Assistant. She has an Honours Level 8 Degree in Social Science in UCC and graduated in 2019. She was a volunteer Play Facilitator in the Children’s Ward in the CUH 2015-2017, and was also an elected Member of SpunOut. Jessica has volunteered in Rainbow Club since 2019.
She has achieved Level 1 in Sign Language, received Acheived the Gaisce Award in 2013, and has qualifications in First Aid, Certification in Child and Adolescent Play Techniques and Emotional Regulation, Certificate in AUTISM Studies Course, Covid19 Officer Trained, European Computer Driving License (ECDL).
Billy has a Bachelor of Education Sport Studies and Physical Education at UCC. He also holds Qualifications in Safe Rugby Level 1 CPR AED, The Leprechaun Rugby Coaching Course, State of Mind Level 1 trained, FETAC Level 5 Rugby in the Community, ITEC Diploma in Gym Instruction, Introduction to Badminton Coaching, CPR 4 Schools, Child Protection in Sport Awareness Workshop Certificate, Basic First Aid, Manual Handling and Child First, Introduction to Spike Ball Certificate, and Autism Studies Course Certificate.
Gobnait is involved with the board since its foundation in July 2015. Gobnait is Deputy Principal in Cork College of Commerce and has an MA in Early Childhood Studies. She also ran a successful pre-school service for 21 years, where her interest in Autism developed. She also has taught in the Further Education for 19 years prior to becoming Deputy Principal.
Seán is involved with the board since its foundation in July 2015 and was a previous chairperson of the board. Sean has worked for Apple as Specialist for the past nine years and has several QQI level 6 qualifications. He also ran a successful lighting solutions company and worked as Sales Manager in different companies for many years.
Jon is the Co- Founder and Vice CEO of Rainbow Club Cork Centre for Autism with his wife Karen. He has been involved with the board since its foundation in July 2015 and continues to be an integral part of Growing the Rainbow club. Jon. He is now full-time Carer for the couple’s sons Sean and Stephen. Jon is heavily involved in the club on a day to day basic and instigated the Music and Sports programmes now successful programmes running at the Charity. Jon has a background in Construction SEI Qualification, Certified courses in Autism, Buntus sports coaching approved, FAI sports coaching course certified, Adaptive Judo certified, FAI licenced Coach programme certified, Trained in HACCP & BARISTA completed course, Paediatric First Aid, Child First & Covid-19 Officer, Chairperson of the Mahon Community Association LTD and part of the Community Response Team in Mahon.
Martha is a member of the board since its foundation in July 2015. Martha a founding member of the club 2015 and Raising Awareness of Autism in Cork since 2009. She has recently set up her own business The Right Wreath. Martha has also worked in the retail sector for many years in various roles. Martha is the volunteer liaison person on the board. She is Certifications in HACCP, Paediatric First Aid , Child First and Lamh.
Niamh joined the board in July 2020. Niamh is a HR Business Partner with Brookfield Renewable Ireland and has an MA in Human Resource Management and is an Associate CIPD member. She has over 5 years’ experience in the HR field.