Volunteer Stories

Monaghan Volunteer Centre

Volunteer Stories

Volunteering with Coder Dojo

Liam from County Monaghan

“Throughout my time in college I had participated in a number of volunteering groups, working with disadvantaged youths and the college community. Since leaving college and working full time, I wanted to give back some of my time to help where I can in my own local community. Having a background in software I chose to volunteer with the Castleblayney CoderDojo and share some of my knowledge with the kids who were interested in learning how to code.

Although joining the team late in the year, I enjoyed my time and I am looking forward to when it returns in the new term. The other volunteers were great and it’s clear to see the kids appreciate their support and the chance to learn something new. The staff in Monaghan Volunteer Bureau are supportive and made the process of joining very straight forward.”

A special volunteer meets a unique group

In January 2019 Grace from Monaghan Volunteer Centre visited CRANOG to talk about a possible volunteering programme. CRANOG is a facility based in Castleblayney which provides community resource facilities for people with disabilities and their families. A number of years ago the Volunteer Centre placed a woodwork tutor who had delivered workshops within the centre. Grace met with some service users, staff and the manager Tommy Collins and it was decided that a workshop in arts and crafts was a possible option. Around this time Ciara had registered with the Volunteer Centre. Ciara was put in touch with CRANOG manager Tommy and they agreed to run a furniture up-cycling workshop.

This class has been running successfully over the past few weeks allowing the group to experience a new activity and develop new skills. The group environment which has been cultivated by Ciara is very supportive; everyone can participate and group members work to support each other. Ciara has developed a great rapport with the group and there is plenty of chat and laughs as they work. She is excellent at encouraging and involving everyone. She has many strands to her artistic talents and creativity and has enjoyed being able to share these with the group. This project has a positive experience for Ciara and the service users and the feedback from all involved has been fantastic. If you would like more information on any of the services mentioned contact Monaghan Volunteer Centre, www.volunteermonaghan.ie or 047 – 72191

Anita Brown & Dolly - Visitors to a local Nursing Home

I’ve always had a love of dogs and elderly people, so I thought, why not combine my two interests! I had also read numerous articles about dog therapy and done research online, and it seemed that the benefits of bringing a dog into a nursing home is highly beneficial for both the elderly people and the dog. I called into Monaghan Volunteer Centre to see if they could contact some nursing homes to investigate whether they would be interested in having a canine visitor once a week, and I was thrilled when Mullinahinch Nursing Home said they would be interested. So I began taking Dolly, my St. Bernard, into the nursing home in August this year, and I can honestly say it is one of the most enjoyable and heart-warming experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of partaking in.

Dolly brings such joy to so many of the residents in the home, particularly those who are bed-ridden. She brightens up their day! They talk to her, they pet her, and occasionally they get a slobbery kiss from her, which always puts a smile on their face! They look forward to her visit every week, and myself and Dolly look forward to it just as much, if not more! For anyone considering doing volunteering, I would say definitely go for it. The benefits for everyone involved speak for themselves and it is the most rewarding thing you will ever do.

Carmel McArdle - Volunteer with a Local Primary 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.”

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.

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.”

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.”