"I’ve worked with the ISPCC since 2005, starting as a Childline Regional Supervisor in Limerick. I had previously volunteered with Childline and was then working in the UK and was keen to return, so this was a great opportunity.
In 2007 I transferred to the ISPCC’s child and family support service (CFSS), where I now work. The ISPCC CFSS is a great team of dedicated people who value everyone’s right to be listened to and supported.
I first became interested in youth and community work when I worked with Limerick Youth Service following a B.A in Applied Psychology in U.C.C. I went on to do a master’s degree in Masters in Forensic Psychology in the UK and worked first as a restorative practice worker with the Birmingham Youth Offending Service and then as manager of Sandwell Mediation Service in Birmingham.
In this job, I have the privilege of meeting young people every day at their home, school or community centre and together we work on some of the personal issues that are causing them difficulty. This involves building trust and rapport with them and sometimes working together with their parents, carers, teachers or social workers. This is what makes this job so interesting. Every person I work with has very different needs and goals, so I have to work at their pace.
We also have a fantastic team of volunteer mentors who are available to meet young people or parents on a weekly basis and offer support and a listening ear to them. My role is to recruit, train and supervise the volunteers and also ensure the young people and parents are enjoying their meetings with their mentor and that it is helping them in some way.
A huge proportion of my work involves travelling out to families living in rural county Limerick. I have found that it is very important that I establish links with other organisations working in these areas, by attending a range of networking events and workshops. By doing this, I can link the people I work with up with other services in their area and help them to build their social network.
What I enjoy most about my job is that I get to meet an array of fantastic people every week. I have seen first-hand the amazing resilience some people have. I have also seen that with the right support and lots of reassurance, we can enhance people’s wellbeing and help them to help themselves."