Dubliner Orla Daly will be running the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon to raise funds for Childline, who she also volunteers for.
My name is Orla and I have been a Childline Online volunteer for over a year now. Having moved home from Australia, I was looking to get involved in something to give back. Childline was advertising at the time for volunteers, which was good timing! I had known of Childline for a long time and admired the work it does for children.
I find volunteering to be really fulfilling and I look forward to my shift each week. With the variety of engagements you don't know what case you'll come across each week. Just knowing we're helping by being there to listen is the main thing. The people I work with on my shifts are great so there can be good chats in the room along with great support when you've a difficult engagement. My supervisor, Loredana and the rest of management and staff are really supportive and invest in our continued training and ongoing support. It's all been a really good experience. The training process gives you all the tools and skills you need for when you start to volunteer and I even use them in other areas of my life too.
We don't solve the problems of each child on each engagement because that's not what it's really about. So just knowing we're helping by making sure there's someone on the other end of the chat or text, that's what I enjoy most. I had a child come on to the text service once just to tell us how much Childline had helped her and how it was such a great service. I hadn't even been chatting to her before and she didn’t get in contact again after that. She had just texted to say a big thank you. It was so lovely I had to email Loredana so she could share it with the other volunteers.
I have taken part in the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon a few times. The first year I did it I was blown away by the spirit, the support and the comradery on the day. I loved how much cheering and support there was among runners for completing the event, be it running or walking. And to see all the families that come out along the route to cheer and even offer drinks. It was touching and inspiring. This will be my third year taking part and I've just recently started my training by running home from work. I have a lovely route home along Sandymount strand so that makes it easy, particularly now the weather is getting nicer. Last year I completed the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon in under an hour so I'm excited to have made the runners’ group this year. My friend who ran with me the first year will join me again, which is great because last year I ran by myself and it's more enjoyable to share it with someone else.