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Name: Nicole OíConnor
Age: 19
Nicole OíConnor
What inspired you to get involved?
I started volunteering in September of 2009 with The Rock and still volunteer there along with the Acorn Club. I really want to work with children after I graduate so I started to volunteer as a youth leader at The Rock which my local youth club, to get some experience. I saw an ad to volunteer with Mencap for their Summer Schemes and thought it was something I would enjoy and it was! Volunteering with Mencap then lead me to The Acorn Club which also works with children who have learning disabilities.
What does your volunteering involve?
In The Acorn Club I help set up games, supervise the children who attend and I do some one to one work. I get to be a big kid and play the games too, so I love volunteering and helping out, even though I miss out on a Saturday morning lie in! The Rock youth club is on Saturday evenings so I volunteer there as a junior leader. Iím involved in organizing activities and supervising everyone. I used to go to this youth club so I enjoy helping them and giving back some of my time as this helps keep the club running. For my University sports teams I do a lot of administration work, I book the pitches, organize matches, organize referees/coaches pay, run the Facebook page and contact all the girls about training times etc.
What skills or qualities are required for your volunteering role?
I think if youíre enthusiastic and passionate about an opportunity then itís almost like second nature to volunteer. For my volunteering roles I need to have a positive attitude and patience at all times. I have gained a lot of organization and communication skills from doing voluntary work for University of Ulster, Coleraine Gaelic and Camogie teams.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering and what has been your highlight?
I have met so many people from all backgrounds through volunteering. I really enjoy volunteering at The Acorn Club and The Rock; it keeps me on my toes! All the kids are easy to work with and I have as much fun as they do. My highlight would have to be every day at the Mencap Summer Schemes! It was a brilliant experience and so rewarding.
Why would you encourage others to become a Millennium Volunteer and what advice would you give them?
I think volunteering is something everyone should do, as it is one of the best and easiest ways to gain valuable experience, learn new things and meet new people all through giving back to the community and helping others. I would advise others who are considering volunteering to go for it! There are so many opportunities available to suit everyone and it is worth giving even a small amount of your time up for the benefit of others.
Are you a volunteer?
Help us spread the word about how great volunteering us - like and share our Facebook page, send us through your story or maybe consider becoming a Volunteering Ambassador. Email youth@volunteernow.co.uk to find out more!