Claire Mullally, a volunteer with the ISPCC in Mullingar met President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabine at Áras an Uachtaráin.
The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) volunteer Claire Mullally was one of six volunteers from the ISPCC Mullingar office at a reception with President Michael D Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin.
The president invited 180 ISPCC volunteers and staff from around the country to attend, to recognise their dedication and commitment to providing support to children and their families.
A mother of one and a Childline volunteer, Claire was delighted to represent the ISPCC Mullingar office with her volunteer peers.
"It was a great experience and not something that you get to do every day! When we arrived at the Áras, we stood in a receiving line and each of us went in one by one to meet the president and his wife.
"I got a handshake from both of them and words of thanks for all the hard work we do for the ISPCC. Both the president and his wife Sabina were very welcoming and made us feel at home in the Áras. After that, all of the volunteers were invited for tea and coffee and the president gave a talk thanking us as volunteers and talked about the need for the upcoming Children's Rights Referendum."
Claire volunteers for four hours a week in the Childline service, which is there to listen to children and young people. Callers contact the service to talk about a diverse range of issues including bullying, abuse, loneliness, family and peer relationships, sexuality and everyday life.
Claire says volunteering for Childline adds something to her life: "Everybody does it for different reasons. For me, it was a way of giving back and doing something worthwhile, but also a way of getting out and meeting new, like-minded people. I love the shift I have and get on well with my team. All sorts of people volunteer, from students who are studying social work and psychology to parents, retired people, hairdressers and builders. As a mother, I find it useful for understanding children and young people's behaviour."
The office in Mullingar is currently recruiting volunteers for a new Childline training course in September. Childline is Ireland's only 24 hour listening service and in Mullingar, is looking to recruit volunteers for many shifts, including weekdays, evenings and weekends.
Full training and support will be provided and they ask for a commitment of four hours per week.
If you are interested in becoming an ISPCC volunteer, contact Nicola MacDermott on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 6767960 to book a space at one of the upcoming group information evenings taking place in the ISPCC office, Bishopsgate Street, Mullingar, on Tuesday July 24 and Thursday July 26.
Twitter: @ISPCC Childline - https://twitter.com/#!/ISPCCChildline