Youth & Under 30s - Profiles

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Name: Gemma Henry
Age: 19
Gemma Henry
What inspired you to get involved?
I wanted to give back to my community which led me into hospital volunteering. My interest in pursuing a career in pharmacy was a great incentive to get volunteering within a hospital. I became involved in volunteering for Derry City Council when the city was awarded the ‘City of Culture Award’ in 2013. I thought it would be exciting to get involved, as well as giving me the opportunity to experience new things.
What does your volunteering involve?
Hospital volunteering involves helping the nurses and staff with tasks like serving dinner. It’s a great chance to spend time and have a chat with the patients; which I really enjoy. As part of Our Lady of Lourdes Folk group I sing at Mass on Sunday mornings and practise on Sunday evenings. We also sing at events such as carol services, Stations of the Cross, funerals and weddings.
What skills or qualities are required for your volunteering role?
It requires a lot enthusiasm to keep excited and keep a smile on your face especially during freezing cold events. But generally it’s so enjoyable that this isn't a problem! Communication skills are key because talking to people at events and in hospitals was a big part of my voluntary role. Working as part of a team is a crucial skill in volunteering as often you are working with different people.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering and what has been your highlight?
What I enjoy most is the buzz I get from knowing I am giving back to my own community and using my time in an exciting and interesting ways. I also enjoy getting to attend many of the City of Culture events! My highlight was volunteering at the All Ireland Fleadh 2013 as a steward. I loved being involved in such a huge event with so many people. I also enjoyed being part of the Halloween carnival parade volunteering as a prop pusher.
Why would you encourage others to become a Millennium Volunteer and what advice would you give them?
I would encourage others to become a Millennium Volunteer as it is a massively rewarding experience and also means you get recognition for all the good work you do. My advice would be to get involved in volunteering because there are so many opportunities and great experiences.