Meet some of the volunteers who work at the Foróige Ballyshannon/Bundoran Neighbourhood Youth Project which has been operating for the last 12 years. The project works in conjunction with the Gardaí, social workers, education welfare officers, parents, schools, volunteers and many other agencies to plan and implement specific needs led programmes for young people from 10- 18 years. As most projects have been facing huge cut backs due to the economic times we are in, it has proven extremely difficult to sustain the level of work we do with the budgets we are working with. That said, there is huge community support with staff receiving support from over 26 consistent and valuable volunteers. It is with this support the project can grow from strength to strength and overcome obstacles as they arise.
Meet Susan Cleary, a volunteer since 2009
Interests: Arts and crafts, reading
I love volunteering because it's an excellent way to support young people in realising what they have to offer and also showing the community what these young people can do. There is so much opportunity for development available to young people in the project but as well as that, there is the chance to meet new friends, gain new skills and really have fun along the way - which everyone does!
There are personal benefits to volunteering too. It is a great way to get to know a diverse range of new people of all ages, increase confidence, learn valuable skills in communication and relationship building and also feel that you are using your spare time in a useful and thoroughly enjoyable way. I would recommend the experience to anybody.
Meet Aoife McNulty, a volunteer since mid-2011
Interests: Music, running, walking, baking
I love volunteering with the NYP as I love spending time helping the kids and teens with their projects and seeing how they benefit from the project itself. I got the chance to be part of the citizenship group last year which was brilliant as they reached the top 10 teens in Ireland and made it to TV! It's very rewarding to see the excitement on the groups faces when they see how all their hard work has paid off!
Mary Lavelle, a volunteer since 2011
Mary is originally from County Meath but moved to Bundoran when she married local man Killian O'Kelly. They both run Turf n’ Surf Lodge which provides hostel accommodation along with surfing, sea-kayaking and goo-karting activities and is located in the centre of Bundoran. Mary has been volunteering with the project since 2011 and enjoys interacting with the children and teens in a relaxed environment. She has worked in Girls Active groups, as a guest speaker, as a talent show judge and with Foróige’s youth entrepreneurship programme. Mary enjoys the way the children always have a different outlook on life to adults.
Killian O’ Kelly, a volunteer since 2011
Interests: Surfing, kayaking and paragliding
Killian Hails from Bundoran and runs the Turf n’ Surf Lodge with his wife Mary Lavelle who is also a volunteer at the project.
I provide surf coaching to the Foroige NYP young people and provide ongoing support to the NYP for over 5 years now. I have been involved in a number of new programmes and activities the Foroige project runs in Bundoran and Ballyshannon. I also provide coaching to the young people on youth entrepreneurship and guest speaking. I volunteer in the project to contribute to the Bundoran community through the medium of surfing. I enjoy the laugh with the young people, they are great fun.
Stacey Devanney, a volunteer since 2011
I've been involved with the project for almost 2 years and try to volunteer as much as I can. I help out with the summer program in Ballyshannon and Bundoran and co-facilitate a group every Friday night. I’m also involved in the Big Brother/Sister programme. I absolutely love volunteering with the project and love being involved with such a credited organisation such as Foróige. It’s always great fun and I love to be involved in as much as I can. The project is such a valuable addition to Ballyshannon /Bundoran and we really are so lucky to have it in the town, It provides excellent services and opportunities to the youth of the town.
Being a volunteer makes me feel more connected to the young people of the town and to the community as a whole. I see volunteering with the project as mutuially beneficial as it benefits me as much as my time benefits the young people involved. I've gotten to know loads of new people (staff, volunteers and young people), got to try lots of new activities and regularly get offered the chance to upskill myself in terms of training and courses. I'm already looking forward to the summer programme and meeting new members!
Gemma McGahern, a volunteer since 2006
Interests: Painting, hiking, horse-riding, travelling, reading, samba drumming
What I get from it? The young people are so much fun, they always bring a smile to my face. It is interesting hearing their views on different topics, I definitely think we can learn from the young people in our communities.
Liam Devanney, a volunteer since 2010
Interests: Listening to music and watching TV shows like Game of Thrones and Love/Hate, basketball, going to concerts
I’ve been involved in the project as a volunteer for about 3 years now, I enjoy the drop in aspect of the NYP as it gives young people a chance to chill out and communicate in a safe and healthy environment.
Margaret Carroll, a volunteer since 2003
I have been a Foroige volunteer for over 10 years now and I absolutely love being involved in the NYP. I work alongside Maura and Caroline and I just love volunteering and giving my time to the young people and the families in the NYP. I have been involved in many programmes such as BBBS, NFTE, citizenship and much more. I love the feeling of being able to help others by giving time and I love making a positive change to others. Its great fun and I think that’s why I have been involved for so long because I really enjoy it as much as the young people
Interests: Fitness, running, skiing, cycling and all outdoor sports
I’m from Glencolmcille and I’ve been living in Bundoran for over 32 years and run a health and fitness business. I’ve been involved in athletics, running and fitness all my life. I’m a level 4 athletics coach, master fitness and life coach. I have taught creative writing, poetry and still have a huge interest in poetry and all things beautiful. I love life! I’ve been working with young people for many years through sport, fitness, writing and spirituality. I get so much from being a Foróige volunteer and seeing young people improve themselves.
Interests: Swimming, soccer, walking, festivals, music, culture
I volunteer with Foróige for a number of reasons. I love the unique opportunities that Foróige has to offer. You can work with the young people in so many different areas and pick the area of your experience. There is never a dull moment as the every minute is filled with ideas, laughter and friendship. Everyone brings something to the project and it really brings the community together.