Local volunteer Jonathan Logan is passionate about making a difference and volunteering allows him to see the benefits of working to help those with an intellectual disability to make a difference to their own lives and within their community.
Enniskillen lad Jonathan is among one of the first to be awarded the prestigious 200 Hour Award of Excellence as part of the Goldmark Volunteer Award Scheme, through registered partner, Special Olympics Ulster. The Goldmark Award recognises volunteering in sport, building on the success of Millennium Volunteers and is part funded by the Department of Education.
Jonathan, a second year health and social care student at South West College (SWC) Enniskillen got involved in volunteering two years ago by starting out with Fresh Focus (Enniskillen) teaching photography skills to adults with learning disabilities. It was there that a colleague suggested further volunteering opportunities with the Lakeland Special Olympics Club, which supports athletes, aged 4 years to adulthood with intellectual disabilities in special schools and adult day care to train and compete in Special Olympics.
Two years on and juggling full-time study, volunteering and working part-time Jonathan is delighted to have received the award and said the best part of volunteering is watching people grow in confidence as they develop a passion and skills in sport and go on to reap the benefits of working as a team and competing in competitions, often returning with a hoard of medals. Jonathan added:
“I love volunteering and there is just so much to be gained from helping people in the local community not to mention the endless opportunities for personal development, all of which I can add to my CV and use as evidence in job interviews. Seeing the sense of pride, enthusiasm, joy and courage on the faces of the people (of all ages) I work with is simply priceless.”
Jonathan is also thrilled to have been recently selected to volunteer for Team Ireland at the upcoming World Games to be staged in Los Angeles this summer, hailed as the largest humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, which will welcome 7,000 athletes, 3,000 coaches, 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators!