Kim is originally from Canada. She moved to Dublin last year.
Kim volunteers for two days a week in Stanhope Green, a long-term supported housing centre in Dublin city centre.
“I wanted to volunteer because I feel that housing should be a right for everyone, and not a luxury for some.” Kim explains.
“I’ve seen the impact of homelessness in Canada and now in Ireland and how social and institutional structures create homelessness. I want to work with people in a compassionate and non-judgemental way.”
As one part of her very varied role at Stanhope Green, Kim comes up with ideas for resident events and puts them into action – recently she’s helped host a Table Quiz, a Crossword Puzzle Day and a Current Events Discussion Group.
Every week Kim searches the local listings for free events and notifies the residents about what’s going on in the local area. She also helps around the office when needed.
She really enjoys interacting with the residents and, as a Social Care student, appreciates the many opportunities to learn and contribute that her volunteering role provides.
As well as volunteering at Stanhope Green, Kim is also a Focus Ireland Befriender. Befrienders are volunteers who are paired with customers who are transitioning out of homelessness. They act as a contact point and support system for customers adjusting to life after homelessness.
In Kim’s case, she has been paired with a young woman, Marie, who was in foster care, and is now in Focus Ireland’s After Care service. Every week Kim and Marie meet for an hour to explore the city.
“Over the past six months, we’ve gotten to know each other really well,” says Kim. “We go and do fun things in the city like visiting the National Museum. It’s a great way to get to know the city and each other.”
Kim is eager to let people know that volunteering can be a very enriching and rewarding experience for everyone involved.
“I’d definitely recommend it.” she says. “The people are fantastic. The clients, the staff – everyone is so easy to talk to and everyone’s really interesting and supportive. It’s a really great support system.”
If you’d like to volunteer with Focus Ireland, take a look at our current volunteering roles.