The seeds sown in childhood throw down deep roots. And today, in an old redbrick house on Mountjoy Square, you’re planting seeds of change that will blossom for generations to come.
You see, at SVP’s Ozanam House Resource Centre, your kindness reaches some of the most disadvantaged children in the whole of Ireland. “It’s not just these kids are disadvantaged economically,” says Niamh, a volunteer at Ozanam House, “they’re disadvantaged socially.”
“It could change the course of her life”
Niamh tells us about a 13-year-old named Catherine. “When she first came here she was so shy she couldn’t look you in the eye. She wouldn't talk. In ten weeks I watched her go from someone so vulnerable and stuck from an inability to speak to directing her peers in tasks. Like we made cupcakes and she's correcting the person beside her. She’s says no, let me show you.”
You can’t underestimate the incredible gift you give children like Catherine who, without your help, would likely continue the cycle of poverty they’ve grown up in. “A transformation like that could change the whole course of her life,” says Niamh.
Nora works with younger kids at the centre. “One wee fella said to me recently — I love coming here because when I'm home after school, I can't go anywhere,” says Nora. And while she too focuses on developing skills kids need to thrive, it’s also about giving children experiences they'd otherwise miss out on, like days at the beach and trips to the cinema. “You should see the joy in these kids' eyes when they're at the beach.”
“We were on a trip to the cinema. There's 7-year-old Conor sitting next to me, an inner-city kid. He was so excited, he says, ‘I’ve never been to the cinema before’. Most parents of children who come here don’t have the money for treats like that. It’s something we can do for them so they don’t feel different.”
It’s not only children your generosity reaches through Ozanam House. “Our oldest member is 93,” says Geraldine, who manages the centre. “She’s lived in the same flat around the corner
since she was six." And for older men, who are at the highest risk of social isolation, there's a men's group especially for more vulnerable people.
At Ozanam House, your kindness has kept the lights on and the kettle warm for 20 years. But, says Geraldine, funding is a constant concern… “We’re grateful for every single euro from caring people in Dublin and across Ireland. Thank you!”