Ozanam House is a community resource centre run by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. It is located on the site of the original clothing and furniture warehouse in a building that has also been used by the Society for a variety of purposes for over 100 years. Since our opening in September 2002 we have continued to develop various programmes and projects aimed at addressing the issue of social exclusion as well as the many needs of the local community in Dublin’s north inner city. The centre now offers over 600 programme places to more than 500 people per week where our youngest member is 2 and our eldest is 96. We also engage 75 active volunteers who share their time and skills each week for the benefit of others.
One of the programmes referred to above is our Youth Programmes. These programmes are broken into age specific groups:
- The Ozanam Youth Groups are open for all children from the age of 6 to 13 years with a maximum number of 45 registered in the groups.
- Earth Club- for young people aged between 9-12 years. In this eco-club, we learn about the environment and creating a sustainable society. This takes place on Tuesdays, 6.30-7.30pm.
- The Senior Youth Service is open for young people from the age of 13 to 18 years with a maximum of 20 young people registered in the groups
- Music Youth Group – for children aged 6-14 years and running on Saturday from 10am to 2pm we offer classes in Piano, Guitar, Violin, dance (Hip Hop and Tap Dance) and Musical Drama.
- Ozanam House CoderDojo- for children between the ages of 8-14. On Saturday afternoons, we offer the opportunity to learn coding and computer programming in a fun and safe environment.
These groups are multi activity social and skill based programmes that give children and young people a chance to find their hidden sometimes buried talents in a safe, fun, learning and social environment. The young people not only develop skills, but also develop new lifelong friendships and a respect for themselves and those around them as well as an enhanced sense of self-worth and belief that is immeasurable in today’s society. They achieve this with the support of our volunteers who work with us to create this safe environment.
Overview of the Volunteer Role
Each week, we organize activities such as cookery, computers, arts & crafts, sports and music to name but a few. We try to nurture and build on the unique skills our volunteers possess and bring to the centre and we do this through supporting them to facilitate sessions with the youth groups.
This support can help identify an area of expertise and specific skills that can be used to facilitate a series of workshops that would benefit one of the centre’s programmes.
The volunteer leaders support the young people in the activities, engaging with the young people, acting as mentors and role models throughout.
Perhaps the most important function of the groups is the educational and community support that is offered by our volunteer leaders. This support aids and assists the personal development of the children and young people in the centre.
Our Volunteers not only support the children and young people but also each other. This support means volunteers are able to share their learning in the role and to benefit from each other’s experience, sharing knowledge and skills.
To reach our full potential and to achieve our goals in the group, we are constantly seeking new volunteers to facilitate group sessions and support the youth co-ordinator deliver a quality and professional programme to the children and young people ensuring a standard level of safety and fun environment within each group.
- Attend the Child Protection Training session
- Attend team planning meetings each term
- Help prepare for the groups
- Take part in activities and spend time with the children and young people
- Be a role model for the children and young people and help them with their activities
- Supervise the group together with other volunteers
- Attend outings and trips to provide support to co-ordinator, if requested and if available
- Attend and contribute to debriefings after the classes with other volunteers
- Work as part of a team within a really supportive environment where everybody helps each other, giving and taking ongoing feedback and support between all volunteers
- Attend team meetings every term to assist the co-ordinator with planning, organising, developing and running the programme
- Support the implementation of restorative practice as a procedure for conflict resolution in the group
- Students/Interns/Volunteers with talents, skills and qualifications in specific activities are encouraged to teach classes if comfortable doing so, with the support and guidance of the coordinator
- To attend meetings and training days if/when applicable
- To follow the policies and procedures of Ozanam House which can be found in the induction pack or in the office
- Other general responsibilities in the context of the role as agreed with the co-ordinator
The group takes place on the following days:
- Ozanam Youth Groups – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 5:00pm to 6:30 pm
- Senior Youth Service - Wednesday and Thursday 7:15pm to 8:30pm.
Our expectation is that volunteers commit to one group on one day - 2 hours each week (the exact times and days of working will be agreed between the volunteer and the programme co-ordinator). The volunteer should commit to a minimum period of nine months. If the volunteer knows in advance that he or she can only commit to a shorter period of time, the volunteer should let the coordinator know.
In addition, we welcome applications from potential volunteers who have specific expertise or skills which they can contribute. For example, volunteers in the past have delivered training in specific areas such as arts and crafts, cooking, film making, graffiti art or in sports. The time commitment for these volunteers will vary and be agreed in advance with the co-ordinator.
Skills, Experience & Qualities
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to establish good relationships with children and young people
- Strong commitment and enthusiasm to children and young people and an understanding of the factors affecting their lives
- Interest and commitment to developing the capacity to provide reliable support to children and young people in times of stress and act with integrity, respect and support
- Good organizational skills
- Good level of energy and good commitment to having fun
- An accepting and non-authoritarian approach
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Reliability, patience, resilience and flexibility
- Ability to treat children and young people’s concerns with respect, tact and sensitivity
- Ability to be aware of own limits, to admit it and to ask for support
- An openness to learning and developing further good practices when working and supporting young people
- Previous experience is desirable but not essential
Training & Induction
- The volunteer will receive an induction/information night in the centre prior to his/her start date and will get a general information pack to become familiar with the centre and our procedures
- The volunteer will have an initial meeting with the co-ordinator to receive a role-specific induction and to agree a timetable and schedule of duties in line with the volunteer role description.
- At this meeting the volunteer will have a support volunteer appointed to them. This person will have been working with the group for some time and will provide initial guidance, advice and support to the new volunteer
- Child Protection Training will be provided within the first few weeks. This training is compulsory and will inform the volunteer of the protection and welfare of children under the Children’s Act 1997 and best practices when working with children and young people.
- Team meetings take place each term, as well as individual training programmes that will be provided if/where necessary
Support & Supervision
The co-ordinator will be responsible for the supervision of the volunteer. Volunteers will meet with their co-ordinator either in one-to-one meetings, or in larger group meetings to discuss ongoing progress and any issues arising.
General volunteer meetings, for all volunteers, will take place twice a year, in May and November.
Furthermore there will be a specific volunteer information session for the youth groups in January and September. Aim of this session is to get together, set an outline for the following period and explain the expectations for the volunteers in detail.
- General happiness and satisfaction
- Personal and professional development in terms of confidence, patience, adaptability
- Learn new skills (e.g decision-making and finding alternatives, leadership skills, communication skills, organizational skills, behavioural competencies)
- The chance to contribute towards the development of children and young people to enhance their sense of self-worth and belief
- To make a difference in young people’s lives
- Opportunity to use and develop skills and talents
- Opportunity to bring ideas on board and develop the centre
- Opportunity to work in a relaxed atmosphere
- Opportunity to develop friendships and meaningful relationships with like-minded peers
- Opportunity to build up valuable work experience
- Tea and coffee will be provided for all volunteers
If you are interested, please contact Kim;
Phone 01 874 2804