The Rainbow Club is run by an amazing team made up of management, staff, and volunteers. Take the chance to 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 518 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.
Frances joined the Rainbow Club Team in October 2021 and works with Charlene in the administration side of the house. She will have special responsibility for liaising with our Wellness and Regulation mentors and assisting them in the running of their programmes. Frances will also take responsibility for the administration of the Adapted Sports Programme and various other support services of the Club.
After 38 years working in one of the big 4 accountancy practices Frances took some time out and now welcomes the new challenge of working with the team. She brings with her a wealth of office experience and will provide office support to the team which is vital for the smooth running of the Club.
Her favourite thing to order in the café is a piping hot cappuccino.
She is really excited to watch the development of the club particularly the new facility for our Teens and Young Adults. Listening to the many plans and ideas recently there certainly are very exciting times ahead.
Billy has a Bachelor of Education in Sports Studies and Physical Education from 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.
We are delighted to introduce to you all to Aileen O Brien our new Speech & Language Therapist that has taken up the role for Jennifer who is on maternity leave. We wanted to welcome her to our family and look forward to working with her. Aileen has an Amazing Amount of Experience and we are excited to have her work with all our wonderful families. Aileen’s Background and experience speaks for itself and the amazing places she has worked over her 11 years.
Qualifications. Trinity College Dublin, Postgrad Diploma Clinical Speech & Language Studies (Dysphagia)
University College Cork, Batchelor of Science (Hons) Speech & Language Therapy.
Practicing Member of the Irish Association of Speech & Language Therapists.
Dawn joined our team in May 2021 and holds a Level 5 in Early Childhood Studies and a Level 5 Care of the Older Person.
Dawn is Child First Certified /Child Protection, First Aid Certified, Manual Handling and HACCP Food Handling Certified
We are delighted to have Dawn join our Team here at Rainbow Club.
Dylan joined our team in May 2021 and holds a B.Eng .(Honours ) Degree in Biomedical Engineering from CIT.
Dylan also has a Level 5 in Community Health, is Child First Certified / Child Protection, EFR Certified, Shallow-Water Lifeguarding Qualified, completed Autism in Sport Workshop, and is the facilitator of Gamer Cafe Rainbow club.
We are delighted to have Dylan join our team here at the Rainbow Club.
We are delighted to welcome Shinaine Batten Philips to our Team as an Additional Needs Assistant. Shinaine joined our team in June 2021.
Shinaine holds a Level 5 in Early Childhood, is knowledgeable in Paediatric First Aid, Children First Certified, Lamh Trained, Cork City Garda Youth Awardee, and has been a member of Youth Club Cafe Committee.
We are delighted to have Shinaine on our team.
Jon is heavily involved in the club on a day-to-day basis and was heavily involved in developing the Music and Sports Adapted Program.
Jon has a background in Construction SEI Qualification.
Certified courses in Autism.
Buntus Sports coaching approved.
FAI Sports Coaching Certified.
Adaptive Judo Certified.
Early Bird Program Completion.
Hanen Talkabity & More Than Words course.
FAI licensed Coach Program Certified.
Trained in HACCP & BARISTA courses.
Get Autism Active Certified.
Pediatric First Aid.
Child First & Covid-19 Officer.
Participant on Community Response.
Chairperson at Mahon Community Centre.
Simon graduated from UL in NCEF Exercise & Health Fitness with a qualification in Gym Instructor / Personal Training.
Certificate in Exercise & Health Fitness, Get Autism Active Certified and Child First Certified.
Simon has the Autism Sports Workshop completed, is First Aid Certified, has Certificates in FAI Coaching and Silver Survive & Save Medallion Award.
Level 6 in Exercise & Health Fitness. Advances personal training strength and Conditioning
Further CertificateS Achieved:
Living work Starts Suicide Prevention Training and Education Certificate. Learning the TASC steps to recognise thoughts of suicide and engage safety.
Cork Sports Partnership: One good Adult (young people’s Mental Health and Sport)
Cork Sports Partnership: Play Leader Training workshop
ONE GOOD COACH Jigsaw Young People’s Health in Mind
Caroline holds a Masters in Art Therapy and a Bachelors degree in Fine Art from Crawford College of Art and Design. She has gained extensive experience working with both adults and children.
A referral can be made for an Art Therapy session for a variety of reasons, including Anxiety, Depression, Personal or family trauma, Emotional difficulties, Behavioural issues, Challenging behaviour, Self-injurious behaviour, Emotional regulation, Sensory or processing difficulties, Suicidal thoughts or suicidal ideation.
Caroline will available for any person in need of support through art therapy and we are delighted to say that the service is also open to the public.
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 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 a Specialist for the past nine years and has several QQI Level 6 qualifications. He also ran a successful lighting solutions company and worked as a 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 a full-time carer for the couple’s sons Sean and Stephen. Jon is heavily involved in the club on a day-to-day basis 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 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 an 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 of experience in the HR field.