Lorraine Nolan - Volunteering with JADD
If I won the lotto in the morning I would probably volunteer for the rest of my life. Even though I only do a few hours of volunteering each week, the experience is so satisfying for me. I feel that I get so much more out of it than what I put in. It has really helped my self esteem and I feel a sense of belonging to a group of people who really appreciate me for helping them out. It enriches my life and it makes me happy.
If you had asked me 6 months ago to volunteer. I would have politely declined. In my previous life I was a career driven, highly qualified, ambitious woman. I had no time for hobbies, let alone volunteering. Then my life did a 180. The job that I had dedicated myself to was over and I was left wondering how I could ever get back a sense of my own self worth. Even though I mourned my old life, I saw so many opportunities with the new one to explore things that I had never done before. It can be an exciting time, if you let it.
A girlfriend of mine casually mentioned volunteering. Her own work hours had been cut and she was left with a couple of free days. So, while heading into FAS, I was given a leaflet which again mentioned volunteering. I decided to contact the south Dublin volunteering centre. They have an amazing, informative website containing a wide range of volunteering opportunities in a range of different areas. I decided to apply for teaching/education positions. I have some experience teaching children keyboard at a secondary school and I had absolutely loved it, so I suppose I was looking to relive my happy memories and make many more good ones.
Pat Kavanagh from the South Dublin Volunteer Centre got in touch with me in September 2009. There were 2 after school assistant positions, one in the Resource Centre in Kilnamanagh and the other in Jobstown with the JADD Project. JADD stands for Jobstown Assisting Drugs Dependency. I work alongside the staff in the centres to plan and organise the clubs activities and games. I interact directly with the children, playing with them, chatting with them and helping them out with their homework. The children are great. Of course, it can be challenging sometimes, but I feel a great sense of peace even on the most hectic days. I’ve built up really good relationships with the children and with the staff.
I’m now looking into becoming a teacher. Thanks to volunteering, I have found a new direction in my life.