Back in September 2011, as I curiously wandered round the NUIG volunteering fair like all first years do, I encountered the Suas stand. I was interested in the Literacy Support Programme/Homework Club. After speaking to Evelyn, the mentor coordinator, I decided to give the programme a go. I didn’t really know what to expect at first. I was super nervous when I first started as I was afraid that I didn’t have enough experience working with kids. I shouldn’t have worried though, because the training Suas provide is top class. It covered everything I needed to know for the literacy support sessions.

Cathy mentoring in the Claddagh School literacy project

Cathy mentoring in the Claddagh School literacy project

I volunteered every Tuesday in St. Nicholas’s NS in The Claddagh. The volunteering was so rewarding. The kids were always so excited to see their mentors and you really build a special bond with them. No matter how bad of a day you may have been having, the kids always manage to lift your spirits and you can’t help but leave the session with a huge smile on your face. Tuesdays were my favourite day of the week in first year!

After enjoying my experience with the Suas Literacy Support programme so much, I decided to apply for the role of mentor coordinator. I was absolutely delighted when I got the position! Although I was very busy, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a fulfilling experience. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to not only participate in but to actively coordinate such a wonderful programme.

I strongly encourage anyone who is considering volunteering with Suas to just go for it. I have yet to meet someone who did not find the experience worthwhile. It’s not every day that we’re given the chance to make a real difference in a child’s educational outcome.

Around the country, over 500 Suas mentors like Cathy work hard to improve children’s literacy through one-to-one interventions. These projects need your support, click here to make a difference today!

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