1,042 Foróige volunteers participated in the Foróige Volunteer Survey. According to the survey, volunteers feel that the key things that young people benefit from are as follows: time to relax and have fun, friendship, a chance to work with other young people and support from caring adults. This is reflected in what young people say they are looking for from Foróige. One young person interviewed as part of research on the value of Foróige Clubs made the following statement which we believe perfectly describes the role of a Foróige volunteer: "Help us with our ideas, Communicate with us. Ask us how we are. Ask us what to do for the year. Get to know us or something”.
My first awareness of Foróige happened many years ago when I joined my local Foróige club. I associated the time spent in the club with fun, laughing with our club leaders and other members, playing games and working on little projects.
Years later, having experienced what it’s like to be a young person in Foróige, I wanted to give something back to other young people and so I became a volunteer in one of Sligo’s Foróige Projects, The Crib Youth Project and Health Café. This opened my eyes to the extent of the work Foróige does on a national level and helped me understand the level of opportunity the organisation provides to so many young people outside of my local area in Sligo. This assured me that being involved with young people and their development was something that I wanted to do and I went on to choose youth work as a career choice.
Irene Lacey started as a Foróige volunteer the day before her 18th birthday. A local Garda asked her if she would be interested in volunteering at a new Foróige Club being set up in their small town of Newcastle. The club started on a Thursday night and her birthday was the next day. That was back in 1986. Irene is still a volunteer 28 years later and is now sharing her learnings and experiences with new volunteers as a volunteer trainer!
"98 years ago, people were prepared to die for Ireland. Now we need people who are prepared to live for Ireland!" - John Sullivan who has been a Foróige volunteer for 50 years.
When I started in Foróige there were two clubs in the county, no District Councils and only 3 people employed in Head Office. Our club did activities like public speaking, sports days, intercounty events and all sorts of things. We had no mobile phones and we went everywhere on bikes. We made bedside lockers, pool tables, Christmas cards featuring the three churches in the Parish (which the priest then decided on as the logo for the parish)!
Foróige is delighted to announce that our recommended online mental health training course for volunteers is now being rolled out. This is really useful low cost course called “ReachOut 101" and is composed of 4 sessions of about 1 hour each. The course can be taken in your own time while at home. The course includes videos, text, interactive questions and an online journal to provide a varied learning experience. To apply please contact your Foróige staff person.
- Identify time wasting activities and do something about them! If meetings are taking too long, ensure you have an agenda and stick to it. Set an alarm for half an hour or an hour and wrap up the meeting when the alarm goes off.
- Explore goal setting and to do lists. Identify short term and long term goals for your volunteering efforts. This will save you more time in the long run.
- The 80:20 Rule states that 80% of your successes come from 20% of the tasks you carry out. What are the high return tasks you can carry out which will make a greater impact on your volunteering?