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IFVP Volunteer of the Month: April

We are happy to announce our volunteer of the month for April- Delon Earle from Guyana, currently doing an MSc in Marine and Freshwater Resources Management at the University of Galway. 

Can you please briefly describe the volunteering activity you took part in?

Cell Explorers is a science outreach and public engagement programme based in the School of Natural Sciences at the University of Galway. Cell Explorers (CE) coordinates year-round activities to engage children in science. These include:

Fantastic DNA classroom activity
This session provides children and young people with the opportunity to engage in hands-on modern biology. Children will gain a basic understanding of the role and structure of cells and DNA, the building blocks of life, and practice the DNA extraction experiment individually.

Question and Answer activity
This session is aimed to widen young people's perceptions of scientists. It allows volunteers (the scientists) to answer the children’s questions on science-related matters while showcasing that 'scientists are real normal people’.

Little Cells activity
This activity is an interactive session that introduces children in the junior cycle of primary school (5 - 8 years old) to the concept of cells that make up our body.

CE Escape Room
This activity is a science-themed escape room where participants find clues, solve puzzles, and run experiments to solve a mystery. 

Can you please briefly describe your role and involvement in the volunteering activity?

I’ve been a volunteer for both Little Cells and ‘Question and Answer’ activities. For Question and Answer, as one of the scientists answering the children’s questions in several schools around Galway. Most recently, I conducted a Little Cells activity with children from different schools participating in an activity hosted by the Paediatric Society of the University of Galway for several Questions. We had five 25 minutes sessions composed of three activities: placing the pictures of human organs in the right place of a picture, making a heart out of jumping clay, and placing different objects according to size. 

Why did you choose to volunteer for this specific cause at this specific organisation?

It was suggested to me by Dr Lorraine Tansey, coordinator of the University of Galway's student volunteering programme, ALIVE, she thought I would be a good fit (she was right!). What was more was the work you must cover before you can volunteer (very meticulous organisation), but I love it the same way. 

How did you feel volunteering with Cell Explorers? Do you feel like this opportunity brought you closer to your local community and enriched your stay in Ireland?

Volunteer coordinators of Cell Explorers are a great bunch of volunteers that take their work seriously while still being able to have fun. Yes, it has enriched my stay in Ireland. Allowing me to enact and learn new things that otherwise would not have been possible. 

Did you discover something about yourself, learn something new, or develop a new skill while volunteering?

Cell Explorers conduct training before we volunteer and after there is a reflection time on the impact of our time volunteering. This has reinforced the need for reflection in my personal life and the impact I may have on the persons I interact with daily. 

What message would you send to people who aren’t volunteering yet?

Start now, you will never regret the impact you can have on lives while volunteering. You become more aware of yourself as well. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with us? “Do better, be better” is a phrase I have heard in the past and it makes sense. I will not tell you how to interpret it.