A Letter from Our Founder
Hi, I’m Karina!
I’m the founder and CEO of AUNUA Academy, but most importantly, my role in life is being a mother. Just like every other parent, I have many fears for my children’s future. This is what compelled me to take a leap of faith.
I dedicated the past two years of my life working relentlessly building AUNUA Academy, as I knew that every child and parent needed to be heard and I was determined to support them and give them a voice.
Let’s start with my school days, which I found challenging as there were no allowances for daydreamers; for the child that got lost in what was happening outside the window; for the child which was held back by an overly academic environment, one in which she felt trapped. Schools just didn’t work like that and my mind just didn’t work like the schools. I guess things became easier to accept as the years passed, although I learned a lot more than I had realized, I still carried my doubts and insecurities. Acceptance and fitting in was another problem for me, as for so many others over the years, always being that square peg in a round hole but not knowing how to embrace it. So many children face the longing for that best friend and the dismay and disheartened feeling of going it alone in what feels like isolation. When you are struggling to catch up, this all adds to the challenge of the school days.
The sad truth is nothing much has changed within the school environment and children today not only are expected to keep up with their academics but also to deal with the added pressures of outside influences such as social media which can leave them wide open to the dangers and leave them damaged and completely vulnerable. The core of education needs to be Mental health as we can’t expect children to know how to feel and react in a the situation, they need to be taught how to develop their emotional intelligence and the focus on academics needs to shift or this generation of young people will be facing an even worse faith with this growing epidemic of mental health problems. All children learn differently, one size doesn’t fit all and it is crucial we encourage our young and accept them for who they are and not dis-empower them because they struggle to keep up and this I can relate to as I was this child one that felt lost in the system.
For me, life after school became a happy release, movement into a new environment, one that I felt I could control at my own pace and make my own choices. At last, I was free and I felt that the weight of the chains of being institutionalized had been lifted off my shoulders!
I could now use my imagination to create the life I wanted to live without being told what to do, where, when or how to do it! Nothing held me back as this was my time to explore the world and to find my space. Having left school a little early, I managed to get into the college I wanted and studied fashion design and art for three years, I explored many different jobs over the years, had fun and traveled, life was good, exciting & challenging.
Jumping years ahead, I am now in my mid-forties and a mom of two beautiful children. After nine years spent at home raising them, my world changed completely when my son started school and I faced the daunting task of returning to the working world! I wanted to find my space, find my place and stay being me! This is when my imagination ran riot again, my gut instinct kicked in and this is when I gave birth to my new baby AUNUA, which is an Irish play on words for A NEW U!
It was certainly an opportunity for me to create A NEW ME! I took a leap of faith and created a personal development program for adults and in February 2017 we launched successfully with 140 attendees and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Gus O’Connell.
In February of 2017 I became a radio presenter and hosted my own weekly AUNUA show on Together FM. This was an amazing opportunity for me to interview some incredible guests, meet new friends and build a team for my next venture AUNUA Academy. In September 2017 I trained and qualified as an NLP Practitioner and shortly there after, in October, I was incredibly fortunate to win a scholarship to Entrepreneurs’ Institute in Bali and became one of the founding members of the Genius School which is one of Roger James Hamilton’s global movement on ‘Ignite The Genius In Every Child’.
My journey started out as a path of personal development one for me to find my space, and with AUNUA, I discovered my own personal path, my passion, and purpose, which is ultimately to represent children of the world and to be their voice.
The instigation of my change of direction from Aunua being a personal development course for adults to being a global online platform for children was inspired by the son of a close friend. He inspired me so much through his own personal story and his life events; at the age of 11 years, he was bullied and struggling so much he wanted to take his own life. I could see the ripple effects of what was happening and see his and his family’s pain, as they desperately tried to help. This boy in an instant, compelled me to drive forward, and I made a promise to his wonderful mom and to myself, that I would stop at nothing to make the changes necessary. Children today face many of the same challenges that I faced in school 35 years ago, but we are in a different world today. With each generation comes an ocean of new information, new technology, new challenges, and changes and we need the resources to teach our children on how to arm themselves to face these challenges.
To build these resources, I dedicated the past two years building the best and strongest team of professional experts that I could possibly find. I reached out and spoke to political representatives, health service representatives, and individuals from all different walks of life, working relentlessly to bring AUNUA Academy to life.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to make an impact on children all over Ireland, let alone globally, but I simply knew that I had to make a change. As a mother myself, the fear we face each and every day concerning our children’s future can be crippling, especially with an array of outside influences that too often take hold of and destroy young lives.
I felt compelled to bring this change so that every child can have their voice heard and feel that what’s possible is possible for them.
I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to make a difference and I know and understand my life’s purpose now. It is to represent children and to be their voice. I hadn’t envisaged my role as being so public and at times I have felt completely out of my comfort zone, but I know if I want to give children their voice, I have to be willing to use mine and speak out.
I’ve been asked so often what is my background as so many think I have some fancy title but the truth is I’m a mommy and I can understand with compassion what this means and the responsibility that it involves.
I’m a communicator & networker that brings great people together, so, I’m just me, someone that leads from the heart, pushes through to make the necessary changes, to be that voice, and yet still I’m that daydreamer that trusts in the belief that anything is possible when you believe.
“The Best Way Out is Always Through”
Aunua Academy is a non profit organization based in Ireland. Our mission is to shine a light on the emotional health & well-being of young people, providing them with free accessible resources to help support their mental health.
“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”
Our vision is to partner with leading industry experts, national and international organizations, and together support young people to discover their ROAR:
Recognize with an Open mind their full potential, with Acceptance of themselves and others, thus encouraging them to ignite their greater purpose to Reconnect with the world around them.
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
Practice kindness to others and oneself
Pursue overall well-being
Invest in life skills
Sustain continuous education
“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”
Our story is a shared one. A dream that we made possible because of an amazing team of volunteers. They have been the driving force behind Aunua Academy.
“We rise by lifting others.”
Let us make something great together?
Aunua Academy is built on a solid network foundation. Since the beginning we gathered volunteers, speakers, ambassadors and partners that were truly engaged with Aunua core values.