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IFVP Volunteer of the Month: March

We are happy to announce our volunteer of the month for the month of March - Nikita Maria Urquhart from Guyana, currently doing her MSc in Environmental Policy at University College Dublin. Nikita was a volunteer at Mother Tongues for a few consequtive weeks, and we have selected her as our volunteer of the month because of her dedication, consistency and contributions to this unique cause! Read more about her volunteering experience below. 

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

I volunteered at the Mother Tongues Language Explorers workshops. Mother Tongues facilitate art workshops for children and parents from different cultural backgrounds and encourages them to speak in their respective languages. At its core, they teach that diversity and inclusion matter. It is a melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities and languages.

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

I volunteered with a wonderful artist from Brazil (which neighbours my home country, Guyana). I assisted her with preparing her set and welcoming parents and children. I also assisted the participants with their art projects when needed. I was given the opportunity to create art pieces as well.

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

Mother Tongues is a diverse organisation and as someone who comes from a different background as well, I chose them because I felt I can offer my services and cultural experiences and that I may be able to add value in some way. Also, working with children can be a very rewarding experience.

How did you feel volunteering at Mother Tongues? Do you feel like this opportunity brought you closer to your local community and enriched your stay in Ireland?

Oh, yes, volunteering with Mother Tongues has helped me see Tallaght and all the diversity that this place has to offer. I had never seen such a collective of diverse people in Ireland in the 6 months I have been here. I got to meet locals and share experiences. It was enlightening  to see people travelling from places more than 2 hours away to be at this workshop because they felt seen and included.

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

The thing that I learned about myself was that I am a very adaptable person. I found myself adapting very quickly to handling situations that weren’t foreseen. I also learned various new greetings in many different languages. As for learning a new skill, I can now make hand puppets and self portraits! I was also taught by the artist that expressing yourself through art can be used to ease stress and anxiety, which may be useful on my academic journey and throughout life.

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

Volunteering is such an enriching experience. These activities gave me purpose, I looked forward to the experience every week. If you are not volunteering yet, I would encourage you to find a cause that you are passionate about and just do it! The connections you will make will be invaluable.