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.