Words of welcome from Denis O'Brien, Foróige's Volunteer Manager

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Foróige March 8, 2013


“You have to look at it from the point of view that ‘out of a cottage comes a prince’ – or ‘out of a cottage comes a president’. Somewhere in Ireland there’s a young person who will be a future President or Taoiseach or Minister for Health, and we try and see that and do whatever we can to challenge people to rise to the occasion.”

So says John Sullivan, a Foróige volunteer since 1964

Some 6,000 adult volunteers make Foróige happen for literally thousands of young people every week. From a Foróige club in north Donegal, to a Big Brother mentor in Co Cork, to a youth cafe in Tallaght, Dublin; Foróige volunteers are the common factor in making it all possible.

Why do they do it? Volunteers say they get back as much or more than they put in. Volunteers talk about how the young people will say hello to them in the shop or on the street and how they are endlessly amazed by what young people can do. Parents who are volunteers in clubs where their children are members say they come to know their own children as others know them – not just as a parent knowing their son or daughter. Volunteers are able to identify moments when they make a huge difference for the young person by listening and respecting what they say, by being the adult who praises them, who believes in them, who gives them a second – or even a third chance, when others have given up on them. They see the shy awkward child blossom in to a confident capable young adult – and they know they were part of making it happen.

Foróige volunteers are ordinary, yet extraordinary people who believe in the potential, value and goodness of young people. They want young people to discover their talents and values, to be part of the community and to become successful adults in all areas of life. Foróige volunteers come from all backgrounds and ages united by a common belief in young people. They have a few common characteristics ( as well as being fabulous people!) which include being a common sense adult, open to sharing responsibility with young people, interested in young people’s development, and being willing to follow Foróige procedures for safety, child protection, etc. We always have opportunities for new volunteers to become part of Foróige’s work, either by joining a role working with young people or by supporting Foróige in other ways. If you’d like to volunteer or know someone who might, we will be happy to take your application which will be down loadable from this site. Most of our volunteers got involved because someone asked them to, in fact existing volunteers asking others is our biggest source of new volunteers – so don’t be afraid to ask. You are offering someone an extraordinary opportunity which might open up to them a whole new world of knowledge, skills, awareness of youth culture and maybe even a great new set of friends – other Foróige volunteers.

All our volunteers have support from other volunteers and from paid staff. There are opportunities to be part of the governance of Foróige, become a trainer, peer mentor and lots of other ways to feel you are progressing in the organisation. Be you a current volunteer, or someone thinking about it, thank you for being open to Foróige and its work with young people.

Foróige believes in young people – be part of it.