I found out about volunteering when the Volunteer Centre came to the college to talk about volunteering. They explained how rewarding volunteering can be, how many people benefit from volunteers and to see if anyone would be interested helping out. They also explained how it could help us gain future employment or help with applying to university.
I decided to register as a Millennium Volunteer which means I get recognised for my hours volunteering when I reach 50, 100 and 200hrs. Volunteering is a very productive way to spend my free time as I’m learning and making a difference to the community. I have always found volunteering rewarding, fun and you meet great people along the way.
The first time I went to the Magherafelt Volunteer Centre I was asked what were my hobbies and interests. They then give me a few suggestions for volunteering that I might be interested in.
The first option was with the local Special Olympics Club - Magherafelt Marvels. This was 2 years ago and it is still one of the best decisions I made to volunteer with them. I coach some of the athletes and help with setting up the training sessions and coaching the sessions. It always is amazing to watch the athletes grow each session, see them enjoy sport and reach their full potential. My role entails helping the athletes to complete the session. Always encouraging them to try their best and if they don’t succeed the first time then to try again. The Club has been very kind to me and has made me grow as a person. As a Special Olympics Volunteer, I have become more confident, patient, and developed my coaching skills.
As a volunteer with Special Olympics I was also given the opportunity to volunteer at the GAA Tyrone Fun Day in Cookstown. It was great fun but was also educational for the kids involved as they learnt about healthy eating and the importance of drinking water. It taught me that as a coach we have the responsibility to teach the athlete about how to eat well and make good choices in life.
The second option the Volunteer Centre suggested was to volunteer with the Share Discovery Village, Enniskillen. I had never heard of this opportunity before but they thought after chatting with me it would be an opportunity I would enjoy. The Share Discovery Village is an amazing place, it is an outdoor activity centre with accommodation and camping facilities. They have all types of activities including art and crafts, climbing wall, pools, banana boating, kayaking, during my volunteering I have learnt a lot of new skills.
I have also volunteered with:
Desertmartin GAA under 8’s
I had studied the theory of coaching in sport studies and through my volunteering was able to use these skills and gain real life experience volunteering for my local football club helping with the Desertmartin GAA under 8’s team. I play Gaelic football so this was well matched opportunity. It was not too far away and I like coaching teams. I always like new challenges and they were amazing kids to train as they wanted to do their best in each session and I love learning new coaching skills.
They are an organisation that makes such a difference to the community. The Peace Players bring people together using sport. Their aim is to build a new foundation for the new generation, not forgetting the pass but to build a better future for kids.
County Sport in Magherafelt
This was an opportunity offered to me by the NRC including wheelchair hurling and Gaelic awareness event. During the wheel chair hurling and Gaelic event we volunteered to take part in raising awareness of the event. We went into wheelchairs and did one training session in wheelchairs. This was frustrating at the start but then fun at the end and demonstrated to us the struggles that wheelchair users face.
I would highly recommend volunteering as it gives you many opportunities allowing you to experience activities and meet amazing people. It also helps you appreciate your own abilities and it is very satisfying to watch groups that you are involved with grow. I have found volunteering a very rewarding experience.