Volunteer Profiles

Carmel McArdle - Volunteer with Monaghan Model School 

I spent 37 years running a business in Monaghan Town with my husband. I always had an interest in helping children to read, and had previously volunteered on a reading project at my children’s secondary school. I also did some volunteering on an adult literacy project, but always preferred volunteering with children. When I retired I took a holiday, then started to think about what to do next. I knew about Monaghan Volunteer Centre through my son, who used it to start volunteering with Special Olympics a few years ago.

I dropped in to the Volunteer Centre one day in November 2017 and met Sinéad. She took my details and registered me with the Centre. Then we had a chat about my interests and experience and what type of volunteering would suit me best. I really wanted to volunteer in a primary school. No school had asked the Volunteer Centre to find a volunteer, but Sinéad suggested that she could contact some local schools and see if they would be interested. It took until after Christmas, but Sinéad found a school that was interested in getting me involved and I went to meet the principal and junior infants’ teacher at the end of January and got on really well. They were really keen to get me involved. 

Before I could start volunteering with the children my Garda vetting had to be completed. I started volunteering after the Easter holidays. I volunteer two days per week, helping the junior infants’ teacher with her class of 27 children. Having a second adult available means that the class can get out and about more easily. For example, we have taken them on nature walks around Peter’s Lake. I help out with whatever the teachers ask me to do, I will be going on the school tour and helping at parents’ evening.


The staff are really appreciative and friendly and I enjoy working with them. I love volunteering in the school, it brightens up the whole week. I’m tired after it but it is really enjoyable and I plan to continue for as long as I am able. To anyone who is thinking about volunteering but isn’t sure – go for it! I was apprehensive at the start but once I went to the Volunteer Centre and met Sinéad it was fine. The process took a bit longer than I expected but Sinéad made the process easy for me and always kept me updated on what was happening. I find volunteering so rewarding and enjoyable.

  

 

Vasanthi Manimaran - Volunteered at the Age Action Shop in Monaghan 

Vasanthi came to Ireland from India with her family, because of her husband's career as a scientist. She had been to university but got married shortly after graduating and had no work experience. Vasanthi came to Monaghan Volunteer Centre aiming to find something to build up her experience and learn more about Irish culture.  She enjoyed her time volunteering at the Age Action shop. Vasanthi has now relocated to Cork, where she plans to find a new volunteer role. 

"It was a great time for me because I haven't worked anywhere and I have learnt about people, culture and the work force of Ireland and also I feel I have spent my time usefully. I really enjoyed my volunteering work in Monaghan. If anyone wants to spend their time usefully and also peacefully, they can do some volunteering." 

Lorraine Lambe

"Working fulltime I was unsure if I would be suitable for volunteering as I thought there would be a large time commitment involved, but I soon realised that volunteering comes in all forms. There is such a wide range of opportunities on the website that it would be hard not to find one that makes you want to get stuck in. I first signed up to help transcribe letters from 1916, and it was so fascinating. I was delighted to be a part of something that gave a real insight to a key period of Irish history.

More recently, I spotted the opportunity to help knit Easter chicks for Cairde, and I couldn’t wait to grab my needles! From word go Josephine from Cairde was very helpful, she sent me the pattern right away and offered to supply wool if needed. She ensured me there was no deadlines or expectations, that any help was greatly appreciated. My mother is a fond knitter so she too was eager to get involved, which made it a nice bonding activity for us to do together. Finally handing the chicks over and seeing them in shops makes the whole experience so rewarding and just inspires me see what other opportunities are available. I would encourage anyone to get involved in volunteering were they can, it can be so fulfilling and give you a real sense of purpose."

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Fergal McMahon

Fergal McMahon from Silverstream, Monaghan volunteers regularly at the Solas Drop in Centre. He is also a dedicated fundraiser and regularly organises and takes parts in collections for a range of charities including Barnardos, Aware, the Simon Community and more. He is pictured here fundraising for Wish Day 2018 at Monaghan Shopping Centre.

Fergal McMahon Wish Day 2018

 

 

 

Dianne McPhelim

 "As a busy working Mum I didn't think I could dedicate enough time to volunteering on a regular basis. But volunteering comes in all forms, and I discovered I could help without leaving the house. Initially I registered to assist in a 1916 letters project through Trinity College online, now I knit for two charities; Team Hope, which organises Christmas boxes to be sent abroad and a premature baby unit. The staff in Monaghan Volunteer Bureau are supportive and helpful, and have a volunteer opportunity for everyone, no matter what age or ability, no matter how little time you have to spare."

  Dianne McPhelim Knitting for LK Hospital

 

 

Volunteer at Drumkill Day Care Centre in Threemilehouse

"Volunteering at a Day Care centre was something I had never even thought of doing, but it has opened a whole new world for me. Although I have worked in the public service industry for a long time, this was something new. I find working there hugely rewarding, even inspiring."

 

 Marie Mayombo Shiyayaku

Marie is Congolese and has been living in Ireland for seven years. She spent the first six years living at St. Patrick’s Accommodation Centre, just outside Monaghan Town. Until her application to remain in Ireland was decided she could not work. However, she was keep to find something to occupy her time and do something useful. Marie visited Monaghan Volunteer Centre and discussed with our staff what type of volunteering she would like to do. She was keen to do something that helped other people and that allowed her to practice her English. Marie successfully volunteered in two different roles. Once a week she cleaned at St. Joseph’s Pastoral Centre. In addition, Marie spent two mornings a week volunteering at the Positive Age charity shop. Funds raised by the shop provide a phone befriending service to older people living alone. Marie benefitted from the opportunity to practice her English. She also enjoyed having something useful to occupy her time and helping other people. Marie has recently received permission to remain in Ireland and has moved out of St. Patrick’s Accommodation Centre. She still volunteers two days per week at the Positive Age shop. She is also attending English Classes two days a week. Her English is now very good. Speaking with staff and customers in the charity shop was a great way to practice. Monaghan Volunteer Centre wishes Marie the very best of luck in her future life in Ireland. .

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Michael McCarty

Michael McCarthy grew up and went to school in Monaghan. He went on to have a successful career abroad, working in Singapore for many years. In 2013 he returned to live in Monaghan and decided to give something back to the community. Since then he has volunteered with the Positive Age Good Morning Project. This involves making phone calls to older people living alone to check they are ok and chat with them.

He has also volunteered as a tutor for Monaghan Integrated Development’s “Stay Connected” programme, where he assisted Transition Year students teaching older people to use the internet. He says “the best gift you can give someone is sharing your knowledge with them.” Michael is also very involved with the Men’s Shed in Monaghan.

 

  

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Back when I was 17 I came across a leaflet in the library for the Monaghan Volunteer Centre. It seemed very interesting to me so I decided to sign up and see what volunteering opportunities were available for me. I felt it would be a great way to spend my time during the summer holidays. From there I became a volunteer youth leader for a summer camp in Teach Na nDaoine, Mullaghmatt, Monaghan. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and discovered that I got on very well with the young members of the camp and I enjoyed talking with them and helping them.

After that, I helped the “Helping Hands” volunteer organisation paint and redecorate the Rehab Centre in Monaghan. It felt very fulfilling to see the end result and how it was going to benefit those that use the Rehab Centre.

I then helped as a youth leader in the youth café in Mullaghmatt, Monaghan. I enjoyed spending time with the young people there and helping to give advice with issues such as being put down by bullies and being treated unfairly.

Once I completed school then I decided to do more volunteering in my spare time. I volunteered in the Drumkill Day Care Centre in Threemile House, which provide day care service for older people, including those with dementia. It was while volunteering there that I discovered that I would suit a job in the caring profession. I have completed the "Healthcare Support" course at Monaghan Institute and I know it was my volunteer experience that got me my place. I am now working in a nursing home and I am happy I choose a career that suits me. 

 Kames Bobaker

Kames Bobaker is from Libya and and when he first registed with Monaghan Volunteer Centre he was living at St. Patrick’s Accommodation Centre just outside Monaghan Town. He was involved with the Scouts at home in Libya and registered with Monaghan Volunteer Centre as he wanted to continue volunteering in Ireland. As an asylum seeker he couldn't work and had plenty of spare time. He wanted to do something useful and also gain experience and skills that will help him when looking for paid work in the future. He volunteered very sucessfully at the Drop In Ministries Charity shop for seven months. Volunteering gave him a chance to practice his English, which is already excellent. Kames has since received permission to remain in Ireland long term and is studying full time.

Kames’ first volunteer role here was the Irish Heart Foundation “Happy Heart” collection.

 Kames