Ireland's Volunteer Stories

 

Aisling O’Keefe

Event Assistant, International Literature Festival Dublin, Coder Dojo and various other Events

Aisling _O'Keefe _Portrait

Aisling wrote a brilliant blog about her volunteer journey: https://notesfromtheabyss.org/. After finding herself without a busy job which kept her from doing all the things she never quite got around to do, Aisling decided to “jump into the abyss” and give volunteering a go. Her passion (she calls it obsession) for reading lead her to apply for a role as volunteer events assistant with the International Literature Festival in Dublin. From there on, Ailsing was “hooked” and has volunteered at various events since, including a large coding event for young people as well as a University Festival and the Dublin Fringe Theatre Festival.

“Our fabulous volunteer coordinator [at ILFD - International Literature Festival Dublin] had promised several benefits of volunteering at the festival in our induction.

However, my experience of the week made me reflect on how she had possibly undersold the experience to us. The benefits [of volunteering] are less tangible and so hard to put into words but by the following Sunday night, I felt like I had just finished a great book. Exhilarated, inspired, emotional and lonely to say goodbye to a bunch of great characters, which had become part of my family.”

 

Akshayita Padalia

Charity Shop Assistant, National Council for the Blind Ireland

Akshayita _Padalia _Portrait

Akshayita  came to Dublin with her husband. She is originally from India. Because she is not able to work on her current visa, she wanted to use her time to support a good cause. She is volunteering in the NCBI charity shop twice per week and enjoys the interaction with the fellow volunteers and customers.

 

Denise Lyness

Creative Writing Tutor, Fighting Words

Denise _Lyness _Portrait

Denise is from Dublin. She works as an event manager and due to her shift work she has some free time during the week. She wanted to give some of that time to a creative writing group and especially young people, so she decided to volunteer with Fighting Words as Creative Writing Tutor.

She became involved with the creative writing and animation workshops that they run for young people, to help the children and to learn something new herself. As a Creative Writing Tutor, she helps to facilitate the workshops and provides support for young people with their writing. 

“I really learn a lot from the kids. Every day is different. It just does your heart good sometimes. If anybody is thinking about volunteering, they should definitely do it. It took me a long time to actually sign up, because I thought I have no time. But even an hour a week can change your life and make you so much happier. Giving is just the way forward.“

 

Florin Filipescu

Volunteer Chef, Event Assistant, Feed Our Homeless, Event Volunteers

Florin _Filipescu _PortraitFlorin is very passionate about the homeless crisis in Ireland. He has experienced homelessness himself in the past and now wants to give back and help other people who are currently homeless.

As volunteer chef with the group “Feed our Homeless”, he cooks food for 300-400 people or more per week and helps to serve it to people experiencing homelessness at a busy city centre location in Dublin.

Florin also volunteered as Event Assistant for the Tall Ships Regatta Dublin 2018  and the “Flavours of Fingal” festival.

“There are homeless people that need help and they appreciate it. I like to help people so I’m here.”

 

Ekaette Chukwuogor

Board Member, Finglas Credit Union

Ekaette _Chukwuogor _PortraitEkaette is a legal executive lawyer and is working as the manager of a law firm. She started volunteering with Fingal's Credit Union because, in her opinion, it is a unique financial institution as a member-centred institution. After studying and working for many years, Ekaette decided to use her skills and experience to contribute to the immediate community.

In her role as board member, she is on the oversight committee, meaning that she supervises and oversees the activities of the board. 

“Volunteering is giving me the inner satisfaction that I’m giving my time, my services and my expertise to others. It’s positive because it’s also going to further aid my career. And it shapes my social life.”

 

Valerie Shiels

Volunteer Receptionist, Dublin City FM

Valerie _Shiels _PortraitValerie originally trained as an actress. After finding herself out of work for a while she took up the     opportunity to volunteer as a receptionist and     administration volunteer with the special ineterst radio station Dublin City FM to  get back into the workforce and to brush up on her skills.

“I was out of work for a few years and volunteering has helped me to get back into the mainstream, working with people and working on the computer and with telephones. I have now been asked to come “on air” for a theatre review show, and this has really opened new doors for me as an actress.“ 

“I think volunteering is important as it gives one the opportunity to socialise and mix with people and to learn new skills.”

 

Iryna Lytvyn

Canal Ambassador, Marketing Assistant, Event volunteer, Friends of the Grand Canal, BlueFire and Rock’n’Roll Marathon

Iryna _Lytvyn _PortraitIryna had been curious about volunteering for a while before she decided to give it a go after joining the Get Connected Project. She is now volunteering at the monthly canal clean up in her local area and has event become a “canal ambassador”.  

She also volunteered for BlueFire to help produce this year's Dublin International Festival. Iryna has a qualification in digital marketing but is unable to work in Dublin. She was concerned about losing these skills, so she was delighted when she was able to not only keep these skills sharp but also support a vibrant community focused group like BlueFire.

Iryna captured her “journey” as a volunteer in her blog: https://mystoriesandpictures.com/category/volunteering

“There is a real sense of community at the canal clean-up, it is a real opportunity for me to meet my neighbours.“

“When I first started volunteering, my husband    didn't come along but now, he has also caught the bug! Recently, when I volunteered with the Rock and Roll Marathon, he came along to take photos. Very soon though, he was handing out t-shirts himself!”

 

Maruf Munshi

Integration Coordinator, Serve the City (Dublin) 

Maruf _Munshi _PortraitMaruf was involved with coordinating one of Serve the City’s intercultural projects in Dublin, the “Tour the City”. The project aims to welcome Asylum Seekers and Refugees who are new to the city, by inviting people to join a free walking tour around Dublin and to go for lunch after to get to know fellow newcomers and people who already live in Dublin.

In his role as integration coordinator, he was responsible for organising logistics and funding for the tour, and also for promoting the tour among potential participants.

 

Phil Doyle

Research Participant, St. Patrick's Mental Health Services

Phil _Doyle _PortraitPhil is volunteering as a control participant in a research study on autobiographical memory and depression. The study is conducted by a team of multidisciplinary researchers based at St Patrick’s University Hospital and Trinity College Dublin. Their research aims to better their understanding of depression and improve its treatment on memory function. 

Phil, as a healthy volunteer, acted as a control to make up a comparison group to the depressed participants. Comparing scores on assessments   between these groups will allow the researchers to better understanding depression and its impact on memory.

His voluntary involvement included attending a number of sessions and clinical assessments to allow the team to collect the data.