My name is Michele Thomas and I moved to Sligo in October of 2017. I am an American Citizen new to Ireland and had not secured work so I knew volunteering would be a great way to meet new people and get involved out in the community.
Currently I am volunteering for Sligo Volunteer Centre as an Administrator one day a week, as well as with the NCBI Charity Shop one day a week.
I also volunteer with Make a Wish Ireland. I had previously volunteered with Make a Wish for 8 years in America so am very familiar with the Organisation and cause. So far, I have assisted with the annual Wish Day Fundraising day and am working to try and plan a 5K this summer or autumn. I also am trained as a Wish Granter but am waiting for a Wish. This is the most rewarding part of volunteering for Make a Wish, as you get to meet the families and help make the child’s wish come true.
I really enjoy the variety of volunteer work that I do because it gets me out and about and I’ve met some really great people in the process. The work I do for the Volunteer Centre helps to keep my office skills up to date while working at the NCBI shop lets me express my creativity assisting with shop windows and displays as well as my retail skills.
Make a Wish is a brilliant organisation that is gaining visibility in Ireland but really needs awareness raised as to what they do and how important the special time they provide for these families really is, which is why I hope to organise and assist with more events and help get the word out, as one of my passions is organising and planning events.
I absolutely think volunteering builds better communities. In my personal journey I know that otherwise meeting new people or trying new things can be daunting, so volunteering is a way to try things out and participate in different activities to find what you enjoy. I am so pleased I found the Volunteer Centre in Sligo as it really has helped me, coming in as an outsider, to grow and work to find my place here.