Volunteers have always been at the heart of SEARCH’s ministry. The ministry we deliver cannot have the reach or the impact we strive for without the help and support of these incredible people. Our volunteers are prayers, mentors, welcomers, cake bakers, car drivers, youth workers, dancers, listeners, tea-makers, life-changers. They’re young and old, loud and quiet, dads and grandmas. Some have experience in working with young people through their jobs; others bring different experience and skills. But all are essential for the work we do.
We will support you as you volunteer, offering an induction, training and monthly supervision. We want your time volunteering with us to be helpful for you, for us, and importantly for our young people.
There are three main ways to get involved:
Direct work with young people, alongside our volunteers & staff member Caiomhe.
Direct work with young people mentoring as part of our befriending/support programmes.
Help with other aspects of SEARCH like finance, reception, maintenance and administration.
We simply couldn’t do what we do without volunteers. So we’d love to hear from you if you want to get involved in making a real difference to young people’s lives and put your time and skills to good use.
WONDERING IF YOU’VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A VOLUNTEER?
There’s no blueprint for who can be a volunteer, other than you must be aged 18 plus. But there are some values that we believe are essential, especially where you’re working face-to-face with young people. You’ll share our Christian ethos. you will treat everyone with dignity and respect regardless of colour, disability, ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, religion or beliefs. You’ll need to be ready to listen, sensitive to young people’s experiences, cultural background and beliefs. You’ll be focused on the needs of the young person, first and foremost.
On the other hand, you don’t necessarily need to be up-to-date with the latest music, social media or Netflix drama. Young people won’t expect you to be the same as them – you’re an adult, after all. So don’t imagine that all volunteers have to know everything about the cultures and interests of young people.
OUR CHRISTIAN ETHOS
As a charity, our shared faith is in the very DNA of who we are. It’s the reason we do what we do; it’s why we are passionate about supporting and caring for all young people of all faiths and none. Our volunteers at SEARCH are usually practicing members of local churches, so that they join with us in prayer, and so we stay united as a team in our practice and vision for supporting young people. If you fit that description, and you have a genuine concern for young people, we would love for you to consider volunteering with us.
HOW TO FIND OUT MORE AND APPLY
Our volunteer recruitment process starts with you getting in touch with Caiomhe, our youth worker at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 07950326838. You’ll be able to talk about why you’re interested in helping and hear a little more about what might be involved.
‘There’s no incentive for these young people to get out of bed in the morning and come here other than love and other than wanting to spread this message that they’ve received. There’s places constantly recruiting, and places that can’t keep hold of staff, and there’s youth clubs closing down and we are in a position where our greatest resource is a never ending stream of volunteers who are here on time every day. This week in particular, the Derry holidays. People have turned down holidays, the good weather, taken unpaid leave to be here. I think that is amazing.’
Katie –Marie O’Halloran, 17
Katie-Marie is currently waiting for A Level results from Thornhill College and took part in the summer scheme as part of her Pope John Paul II Award and because she has many friends who also volunteer. ‘It’s good to give back, to know that you can positively impact on the children.’ ‘Seeing the shy children come out of their shell is a highlight for me.’
Amy Millar, 22
Amy has recently graduated from Leeds University with a degree in Childhood Studies. She has volunteered in every summer scheme since she joined Search in 2007. ‘It’s something I really enjoy.’ This year she returned from University in Leeds early in order to take part in Mol an Oige in Galliagh, and now Creggan. ‘A highlight would be seeing the new leaders come on, and step up. They grow in confidence themselves. Sometimes it helps leaders as well as the children. It’s definitely built my confidence.’ ‘Having all the volunteers is the strength of the summer scheme. Faith is passed on through fun and not through a bible.’
Keith Mc Laughlin, 18
Keith is currently awaiting A Level results from St. Joseph’s High School. ‘I choose to be a volunteer for the past few years as it’s been a great contribution to my experience with young children. I hope to be a teacher. Being able to help make a difference with them through use of games and a variety of activities made not not only enjoyable for them, but also for me! ‘The main highlight of the creggan summer scheme for me was the dramas. Being able to see some of the children take part in the drama was amazing to see as I was able to see the confidence and great talents that they had! ‘The volunteer team at the summer scheme is brilliant! Everyone took their role seriously and it was clear that the children looked up to each of them. It is great to see that the volunteers took time from their break off work and school and used it to help make a difference in the community. I know for certain that with the great volunteers each year and the enthusiasm of the children, the mol an oige summer scheme will continue to strive and expand to further areas to make a difference.’