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Leanne Lynch, Limerick’s Gateway To Education

17/07/2016

Volunteering for the President's Volunteer Award (PVA) was an amazing and fulfilling experience. I began volunteering with Limericks Gateway to Education in September 2015. Limericks Gateway to Education is an organisation that helps disadvantaged students with their schoolwork and homework. The organisation provides a comfortable learning environment for children from primary to leaving certificate level.

I found volunteering with LGTE such a great and fulfilling experience. The hours for volunteering were flexible so it was easy to fit my volunteering around my college and personal life. I volunteered two to three hours a week. Volunteering with this organisation gave me the opportunity to give back to the community and hopefully encourage students to work hard at school and visualise a future career. I struggled greatly in secondary school and I dropped out of school during my leaving certificate, returning to college as a mature student. I believe that working with students that are under the pressure of exams and schoolwork is so fulfilling because you know that you are a support that they need.

I worked with the primary school students which I found extremely fulfilling and enjoyable. One of the students I worked with had great difficulty with learning the time. During one of the sessions with her we went through the time slowly, the following week the student arrived to class beaming to talk to me. She told me that the previous week in class she had the confidence to answer a question for the first time. This was the day I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I feel like my involvement in LGTE gave me first-hand experience working with students and inspired me to decide what I want to do when I finish college. The following semester was my coop, the experience I gained when working with LGTE led to me having the confidence to apply for a teaching position in Barcelona.

I believe that volunteering for the PVA gave me so much more than I gave myself. The experience I gained gave me the confidence to pursue other opportunities in teaching and has helped me decide what I would like to do as a future career. 

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