John O'Connor-A Volunteer's Story

Volunteers are the heart and soul of Solas Project, and without their generosity and skills it would be impossible for us to achieve our vision.  Therefore, we want to take this opportunity to thank our many volunteers for giving up their valuable time. John O’Connor, a loyal and dedicated volunteer who works in The Yard shares his experience of getting involved with Solas Project.

In early 2014 John’s daughter noticed an advertisement for Solas Project and saw that we were looking for volunteers. John read the ad, liked what he saw and responded, and the rest as they say is history!

Before Solas Project, John spent thirty five years working as a woodwork, construction and technical drawing teacher.  John found teaching very rewarding and enjoyed the academic year working in Ireland and then took memorable holidays in America, working hard and having plenty of fun along the way.

When John retired after a lifetime of working, he found himself at a bit of a loose end.  So when he found Solas Project it was a great way for him to pass on his experience and expertise. He stated that he gives his time willingly to Solas Project and gets enormous personal satisfaction back from his time here. John says that he really enjoys the company of fellow volunteers and the Solas Project staff.  His time and skills are greatly appreciated and he believes there is a real feel good factor in giving something back by volunteering.

After many years working and teaching, John has accumulated an array of useful, practical and transferable skills. And whilst these hard skills are extremely important and form the bedrock of what the Yard is all about, John also passes on vital soft skills that can guide a meaningful change in the people he helps to mentor week after week.  John claims that one of the most satisfying aspects of volunteering is seeing the same students come back week after week, and seeing them change and grow. 

We are so grateful every day to have wonderful volunteers like John and many others, so here's to you guys! We couldn't do it without you.