Catherine Leonard, Le Chéile, Kildare
Catherine has been a youth mentor with Le Chéile – a mentoring charity working with young people at risk of or involved in offending – for 11 years. At the start of mentoring matches, it can be difficult for young people to engage with their mentor and young people often miss matches, and don’t turn up to meet. She has never let this stop her reaching out again and again to the young person, and young people have told Le Chéile they recognised that she would still be there for them the next week, broke a barrier for them and helped them to eventually engage.
In her time volunteering with Le Chéile, she has treated every young person she works with with kindness, respect and unconditional positive regard. Throughout her matches, she has shown a sincere interest in getting to know the young person and their world and support them to make the most of their lives. Having been matched with a young person from a minority background, she ensured that she developed an understanding of where they are from, traditions and culture, even studying it as part her H Dip.
At group support and supervision meetings, she’s always offering support and encouragement to other mentors. There is no job to small or too big for her.
Edward Lynch, Lismore Dramatic Society, Waterford
Edward has been volunteering for 47 years and has filled every role from chairman down, in Lismore Dramatic Society. He also manages the PR, advertising and sponsorship along with front of house prior to productions. He is also involved in the Imram Writing Festival in Lismore and is currently involved in organising the Christmas lights in the area.
He never says no when asked to run an errand or do a favour and is especially inspiring to the younger members. No matter what role he is asked to fill he is willing and has been known to change into costume while sorting tickets at the box office! Each year he has been Santa Claus promising wonderful toys to the local children. He has been a quizmaster at hundreds of fundraising table quizzes all over West Waterford and East Cork. He was also a volunteer vet to both Lismore and Tallow Point to Points. Edward, who just turned 70 years young, is a true champion of many causes.
Treasa Martin, Ballymun Community, Dublin
Treasa has been volunteering in various capacities all her life and at 90 years old shows no signs of slowing down. She is a born entertainer and brings the joy of music through singing, guitar and piano or keyboard to many around her, notably her monthly appearances at the local Nursing Home with her friends and her weekly singing both solo and with the Ballygall church choir.
The impact she has had on her local community is tremendous. Currently she helps many friends around her by driving them regularly to do their weekly shopping, to church, to exercise classes, to ladies club etc. as none of her friends of a similar age still drive. She is currently organising to get a Garda Permit so that 3 generations of her family, along with some friends and members of Ballygall ladies’ club and choir, can go carol singing on Grafton Street in December to raise money for St. Vincent de Paul. They have been doing this for over 30 years and in the process have raised tens of thousands of euro.
According to Louise who nominated her “She is the glue that keeps older people within the community connected with each other and society in general.”