Volunteer with Galway Theatre Festival!
Galway Theatre Festival
Volunteering is perhaps one of the most vital contributing factors towards the cogs of the working world. From offering free time in a charity shop, to jetting off to foreign lands in search of new experiences outside of your comfort zone, every single voluntary minute is valued.
My name is Niall Heneghan, and I am a 20 year old Arts student here in the University of Limerick and I am currently on my co-op placement as an administrator within the Community Liaison Office. Over the coming weeks, I will be running this blog that will aim to discuss various topics linked to volunteering and ongoing topics. However, what good would this be if I don’t introduce you all to the team? It isn’t just me within the office, as I work with two other colleagues of mine named Arlene Loughnane and Joanne Padden. To get to know us better, we wrote individual pieces under the following pointers to get to know us better!:
- Why we chose this line of work
- What is the most rewarding part about working within this field
- Why we think volunteering is as important as it is
- A single piece of advice we would give volunteers
I chose to apply for this co-op opportunity as I grew up constantly putting my name forward for every opportunity possible. I always believed in the mindset that even the smallest contribution can make all the difference. If ten people put in a tenth of the effort, they can learn to build relationships and develop teamwork skills. This would mean that even if you have only a few hours to give, by all means do it! When I saw an opportunity to promote volunteering to a large demographic, I jumped at it. The most rewarding thing about this opportunity is seeing the number of new registrations rise with the amount we promote and how often. It’s great seeing our community grow stronger and stronger. The reason I think volunteering is as important as it is, is because countless organizations rely on goodwill to provide services for many reasons such as financial restrictions and the likes. If a charity that aided the homeless population of Ireland had to pay every volunteer, that would mean there would be less funds to be allocated for the cause. Offering your time helps these people achieve their goals at a much larger scale. If one was to be interested in doing this, the piece of advice I would give would be to not be afraid or second guess your quality of contribution. You do not have to volunteer every day, nor even every week. Many organizations would be more than happy to receive voluntary support whenever possible. If you can even give a few hours, do it!
I started working in the Community Liaison Office back in 2016 and piloted the first national student volunteering database www.studentvolunteer.ie here in the University of Limerick. What drew me to the CLO was how positive the office was. I would be working with students in groups or face to face to help them find volunteer work within communities or organisations and supporting students to log their volunteer hours and apply for a President’s Volunteer Award. We are lucky that UL fosters a culture of volunteering and has been running a unique programme for over 10 years where it officially recognises student volunteering on the academic transcript. The most rewarding part of working in the CLO is supporting students in enhancing their third level experience in UL. Volunteering helps students connect with the wider community. It is amazing to see how many students volunteer on a weekly basis and give back to their communities alongside studying full time, maintaining a part-time job or two and maybe even looking after family members at home. Students are inspired by volunteering for many reasons and volunteering your time to an organisation or an initiative reaps many benefits spanning a student's health, community and even career prospects. As they make new connections and learn skills to advance their career, student volunteers feel happier and healthier. They strengthen ties to the community and broaden their support network. Get involved in as many volunteering roles as you can – the more diverse the better! But more importantly advice for students who maybe considering volunteering for the first time – just do it! No volunteer has ever said they regretted it!
When I see the opportunity come up, I jumped to it. The role in itself is very interesting and enjoyable working in the Community Liaison Office, Student Affairs Division. The most rewarding part about working in this position is being able to help out different organisations and share the wonderful volunteering opportunities available online and in our communities. The highlight of the job for me has to be the Presidents Volunteer Award ceremony. It's a wonderful ceremony recognising the volunteering students undertake. I think volunteering is important because it helps you made a difference in your local club or community, and it also helps you gain valuable personal skills. A single piece of advice I would give volunteers is to choose an organisation or club you're interested in, Studentvolunteer.ie has a range of opportunities available and get involved! There are so many benefits to gain from like improving skills, reducing stress and giving you a sense of purpose.
So there you have it, a little bit about your PVA team! Make sure to link back in next Wednesday for our next post!
StudentVolunteer.ie enables students to have the opportunity to: enrich your personal development and employability skills, have a fun experience, meet new people, and give back to your community. Sign up now.Register Now