My volunteering experiences
Eimear writes about what it's like to volunteer with St. Vincent De Paul and other groups
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Between animal shelters, various charities, societies, soup kitchens and non-profit organizations, there’s always a need for volunteers. Transition year and college are particularly good times to get involved with volunteer work as there is so much to do and you will have spare time. In transition year I was a part of the St. Vincent De Paul society where we had different events throughout the year. We used to volunteer to work in the St. Vincent De Paul shop in our town and we had ‘clothes drives’ in our school where students would donate their old clothes and we would bring them to the charity shop. At christmas students brought in various food products and we made up hampers for families in need over the holidays. We also were involved with the shoe box appeal, making up shoe boxes of christmas presents to send to children in third world countries for christmas.
When I came to college I was happy to see there was a St. Vincent De Paul society I could get involved with. We do a weekly soup run where we go into town with soup, sandwiches, tea and sleeping bags and help out the homeless around the city. There are various charities that do soup runs and sometimes the homeless are seen to by these different charities a few times throughout the night. A few times we came across homeless people who didn't want our services or only wanted the sandwiches we had made if they had raspberry jam as opposed to strawberry. I found this amusing as it proved the saying ‘Beggars can’t be choosers’ wrong. However, for the most part everyone is very grateful and praises you for being so helpful and kind which makes you feel great and that your volunteering is worthwhile.
Also when I was in transition year I volunteered at a homework club for kids after school. The primary school kids loved having someone older to look up to and to help them and it felt great to help them out. Some of them had more difficulty reading or writing and it was very rewarding knowing you helped them improve their skills. They were always happy to see us and grateful we came and it was enjoyable to help them and hear their stories from their day at school.
Another society that I am involved in in college is Enactus. This is an enterprise society however, we have a programme within it called Headstarts. Every tuesday evening we welcome people of any age with various disabilities mental or physical to join us for art, music and drama. For two hours we teach them drama and play games and everyone has a great time. They love coming to the evening and all of the volunteers love to help out and get involved. At the end of the semester we invite all of their families and friends to a showcase where the people we have worked with get to perform, sing, act and show off the work they have made. It is a great evening for everyone and you feel great for volunteering seeing how happy you have made everyone. Overall, I have volunteered in various groups and it is a very fun and rewarding experience. You get to meet great people and get involved with great projects. I would recommend everyone to get involved with volunteering in any way you can!