Patrica McGovern
On: September 17, 2019
Trish is 23 and has been living in Galway for the last six years.

Tell us a  bit about yourself:
I’m doing a masters in IT. I love dogs and used to be very involved in a kayaking club but I haven’t been able to head out much recently.

When did you start volunteering ?

I started volunteering in the summer of 2013

Why did you start volunteering?

I had a few friends who used to volunteer to walk the dogs out at MADRA and I was interested to know if there was any way I could help out seeing as at the time I didn’t have a car and couldn’t drive to walk the dogs. So that’s why myself and my housemate began fostering dogs until they could be adopted.

What role are you currently volunteering in and can you tell us about it?

I’m currently volunteering for Foróige, with the Big Brother Big Sister programme. I have had a little sister since August 2017 and every week for a couple of hours we do some fun activities such as baking, art, going to the cinema, going for hot chocolate, window shopping, board games etc. We have loads of fun and get on really well. For training we had a child protection course and then general training in becoming a big sister as well as home checks and now every three months we a have individual meetings with one of the girls from the Foróige team to make sure everything is ok and to provide support if we need it.

What is the best thing about volunteering in your own opinion?

I love the difference it makes to other people. Fostering 13 dogs over the space of 4 years has provided 13 more dogs with loving homes. It wasn’t life changing to me to love and care for a dog for a few months to help them trust people and overcome issues but it is life changing to that dog and their family. The same with Foróige; while I will always remember the experience fondly and loved it, it’s the difference it makes to the little sister that makes it 100% worthwhile.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about starting volunteer work?

I would say just go for it. Whether it’s shaking a bucket on Shop Street, going to visit an elderly person or helping in a charity shop and everything in between, every little helps. It might only be an hour but you’re really helping out and even if you don’t feel like you know enough to help, you’ll get trained and trust me you’ll be so appreciated.