This National Volunteering Week, we’re celebrating the contributions volunteers make in our communities. Mary Nee from Galway Samaritans, tells us his story.

Mary Nee’s mother had been a volunteer with Galway Samaritans, so it had always been her intention to volunteer with them someday. With five children, Mary’s time was limited but when she got the chance to volunteer eleven years ago, she never looked back!

Starting as a listening volunteer, Mary soon became a day leader, getting involved in outreach in schools, and is now a trustee and the Assistant Director of the branch. The longer she spends volunteering there, the more passionate she becomes about the mission of the organisation.

Mary has made a great group of friends through volunteering, saying it’s like having another family. Not only that but having always been a daughter or wife or mother, Mary felt that volunteering had finally given her an identity of her own.

This sense of purpose was never more important than during the pandemic. Galway Samaritans adapted quickly, not even closing for a week, and while some volunteers had to step back for various reasons, the remaining volunteers did two or three shifts a week to make sure this vital service remained running for those who needed it.

With increasing isolation and loneliness reported in our communities throughout the pandemic, having the volunteers of the Galway Samaritans there to listen was a lifeline for so many. For Mary, it’s a privilege to be on the other end of the phone when someone needs it and going in to do her shift provided a little slice of normality in an ever changing pandemic world. Although Mary gives so much of her time to Galway Samaritans, she feels she could never pay back the richness it has brought to her own life.

Thank you to Mary for sharing her Volunteer Story. Please DM us or email [email protected] if you’d like to share yours! #MyVolunteerStory #CelebrateVolunteers #NVW2022 

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