“I felt so alone as an asylum seeker… When I started volunteering, I got to meet people and not feel alone,” says Follyvi, a Community Volunteer in Co. Louth.
Follyvi began volunteering when he arrived in Ireland in January 2020, having left his country and separated from his family to seek asylum. He talks about how he found support and a sense of community through volunteering: “Today I am not alone – all of the volunteers are my family.”
He has found Louth Volunteer Centre very helpful: “They have helped me to get to know the Louth community. They have supported me to attend different volunteer roles like the Athletics Day and the Drogheda Summer 5k. I was standing beside a Guard at the race – this is something I have never done before, you couldn’t do that in my country! We were helping to direct traffic and the Guard even took a picture with me. My brain was full of joy when I got home.”
Follyvi has also benefited from volunteering with the church: “I fell in love with the church again. I am part of the church community, and they pray for me and relax my mind.”
He recommends volunteering to anyone feeling lonely: “I tell people how nice it is to be part of the community and how nice it is to get to know people and to get to know your area… The community is my family.”
This World Mental Health Month, consider volunteering as a way to boost your happiness! Mental Health Ireland recommends volunteering to improve your mental wellbeing and says, “Giving is good for you! Volunteer your time or join a community group. It can be incredibly rewarding and create a connection with the people around you.”
Thank you to Follyvi for sharing his Volunteer Story. Please email [email protected] if you’d like to share yours!