It’s just good to have that little sense of feeling that you’re helping somebody.
The work of SVP through the words of our young volunteers.
Volunteer Stories: Niamh & Shane
Every year, Young SVP host a number of exhibitions around the country to celebrate the achievements of local young volunteers. We met Niamh and Shane at the event in Dublin, two secondary school students who run the Conference in their North County Dublin school. Amongst the fun and excitement of the day, we got to know the more thoughtful side to these two teenagers.
Why did you join Young SVP?
: We were given a talk about the work of St. Vincent de Paul in school and we decided there was no reason why we shouldn’t setup our own Conference.
A lot of us felt very strongly about the homeless crisis in Dublin and so we based our activities on this. There’s over 7,000 people homeless in Ireland now and about 2,000 of them are children. We did the maths and that’s the equivalent of our whole school plus the three other schools in our area put together! We wanted to get this across to our classmates.
What activities has your Conference done?
We put together a petition to the Government to end the homeless crisis and got everyone in our school to sign it. Then we did some bake sales and other fundraising events. We decided to use the money raised to make care packages for the homeless in Dublin city. We went out and got stuff we thought a homeless person might need.
We chose things that are real needs but aren’t given out for free. Like nappies for babies. Women’s hygiene products. Deodorants and stuff like that.
Yeah, it really made you live in the moment. It made us think about what living rough would be like. Being so alone and feeling horrible. And all the things in our lives we take for granted.
We made lists for each package and then we made sure they were quite equal. Our teacher got in touch with a homeless hostel in north city centre and delivered the packages there.
What do you enjoy about volunteering?
It’s just good to have that little sense of feeling that you’re helping somebody. No matter how much it would really change our society, our country or the world, it’s just that little bit of happiness at a time where, to be honest, everything is so dark. I live with my mam, my mam and dad are split up. I’ve lived with her all my life. We hit a really bad spot a few years ago and SVP gave us a hand. The work they do is phenomenal. I always wanted the chance to pay it back.