Volunteer Profile: Kathy O’Connor

Kathy is a key member of the volunteering family in Donegal and in 2015 received a ME4U Recognition Award for her service from Donegal Volunteer Centre. This is her story.

What inspired me to get involved with volunteering was when my son was six years of age. I had returned home, and I wanted to get him involved with the local cub scouts. I signed up as a volunteer and watched my three children grow with and have fun in the organisation. In total I spent 10 years volunteering as a scout leader where I met wonderful people and watched many children develop their confidence and grow into fine young adults.

I work as a Life Coach / Gestalt Practitioner.  The focus of both my paid and voluntary work is on caring for people.  I have for the past 15 years been on the voluntary counseling team with the Donegal Women Centre & as a keen biker I am also involved with the Blood Bikes Service for the Northwest.

In 2015 we celebrated the tenth year of the Christmas Day Dinner for people living on their own that I instigated and which is supported by some 40 volunteers each year.  This is an amazing day for both participants and volunteers.

I spearheaded the start up of a Food Bank in the locality. This was a great experience to see the community come together and support people less fortunate than themselves. I have since moved onto a new Community Café project that is currently in development. However, I pride myself on having created a solid Food Bank that is supported by many volunteers who continue to offer this much needed service.

I had never thought much about why I volunteer before being challenged to put together a personal profile. All I can truly say is that volunteering found me and I just do what I do. The amount of people who offer their time to improve their community is amazing and I am proud to be part of this voluntary revolution.

Good people who offered their time on a voluntary basis have helped me myself throughout the years when life got tough. For this, I am forever grateful. So volunteering for me is about giving something back.

Volunteering is not always an easy task. All kinds of hurts and disappointments can occur. For me I try to keep my focus on the intention of what I am doing and the purpose of the work.

I have a new vision for a supported community café which I am currently working on which I hope will succeed and which will involve many volunteers within the community.

So, to sum it all up. I do what I do because I care.

This blog is part of our National Volunteering Week 2016 blog series. Get involved on social media using #NVW2016.

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