Niamh Cassidy is Team Leader, Long Term & Supported Temporary Accommodation, Dublin and gives her insight into her work, and that of Focus Ireland.
I’ve been working for Focus Ireland for almost thirteen years. I started as a Project Worker in our Extension drop-in and Outreach Service for young adults and worked in many of our services across all areas including in housing services, with families, those leaving care and even in education and training.
When I meet someone new, outside of work, invariably the question comes up ‘so what do you do?’. I always say ‘I work for Focus Ireland’ and wait to see if the person knows who we are. I’m happy to say that it is now uncommon for people to not have some understanding of the work we do, where as in the past I would often have to explain. I usually follow it up with some description of the service I am currently working in and then it happens…’you’re so good’, often followed by ‘I couldn’t do that’.
While it’s true that not everyone is cut out for the work personally, and professional qualifications are needed, I don’t believe I’m any more ‘good’ than the next person.
I do what I do because it’s what I enjoy and am good at and because it’s what I am trained to do. I believe people are inherently good and that when given the opportunity we all wish to, and do, look out for those more vulnerable than ourselves. Studies have shown that a child’s desire to help has nothing to do with an award system”
Studies have shown that a child’s desire to help has nothing to do with an award system
This is noticeable in humans early in life. Children learn to help one another by giving other children objects they need, want, or are out of reach by the time they’re 14 months old. Before they turn two, they already know how to share (although at this age they don’t always choose to!).
Studies have shown that a child’s desire to help has nothing to do with an award system. They help out because they want to, not because they’re motivated by self-interest. Humans are inherently social creatures who on a deep level understand that helping one is helping all.
It may even be a natural instinct. And as humans, we’re generally not good at suppressing instincts.
So actually, what we may experience when we feel the urge to help is an instinct much like hunger or thirst- something that we’re genetically predisposed to want to do.
In 2017 Ireland was ranked at 8th in the world, and second highest in Europe. I think that makes us all pretty ‘good’
The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index looks at how many people help out a stranger, donate money to charity and volunteer and averages it all out to rank countries. In 2017 Ireland was ranked at 8th in the world, and second highest in Europe. I think that makes us all pretty ‘good’.
In Focus Ireland we are driven by the fundamental belief that homelessness is wrong and that we need to do everything we can to help transform the lives of people affected by it.
But please, don’t put me on a pedestal – I love my work and am lucky to meet some wonderful people both in my colleagues and in the customers who use our services. I have gained more from them than they have very gotten from me.
CAF’s mission is to motivate society to give ever more effectively and help transform lives and communities around the world.
So let’s all continue to be good and help move Ireland even higher up the index….
Help a Stranger
Donate to Charity
Volunteer your Time.
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