I met Jenny during lockdown. We were introduced through a colleague of mine. We have remained in contact ever since and when she joined the nurture niche I was delighted. We have Special Olympics in common and have had lots of chats about being a volunteer and the great work the organisation does.
Hello, my name is Jenny. I am happy and proud to be a member of the Nurture Niche.
I am mother of two and grandmother (Nana) to my precious grandchildren – Grace aged 5 and Leo aged 1. I am a busy Nana these days looking after them while my daughter and son-in-law are at work.
I retired twelve years ago and enjoy having time to indulge in my favourite hobbies – genealogy, gardening, knitting and crochet, jigsaws and crosswords.
I started investigating my family tree about thirty years ago. It is easier now that there is so much info on-line. I organised a family reunion in 2012. Relations from America, Australia, England, Scotland and different parts of Ireland turned up. It has been hinted that we need another Reunion in 2024.
I find researching engrossing and it is my go-to activity when life is difficult and I overthink everything that is going on.
My garden is wild and colourful. I love roses, osteospermums, busy lizzies, geraniums. I often neglect the housework and spend hours planting, pruning and arranging.
My Mam was a wonderful seamstress. She did try to teach me but the sewing machine and I didn’t get on. I took up knitting and crochet instead. My daughter suffers badly from hay fever. When she got married, she asked me to crochet flowers for the wedding party. I was delighted to be asked and made roses, dahlias and sweet william for the groom, Will.
In 1999, I watched a tv programme about the Special Olympics World Games in America. It had been announced that the 2003 games would be in Ireland. I sent an email immediately to Special Olympics Ireland asking if I could be involved. I volunteered as secretary of the Organisation Committee for a couple of years until it became full time. I volunteered at the 2002 Ireland Games and at cycling in the Phoenix Park at 2003 World Games. In 2005, I was one of twenty-six Irish Volunteers at the Winter Games in Japan. While there, I learned that the Leinster Region was being split and a new Eastern Region (Dublin and parts of Wicklow and Kildare) was being set up. I became Secretary of the new Region.
I joined a Club in 2006 as Motor Activities Coach. I love spending time with the wonderful Athletes. It is so rewarding and grounding. As well as weekly training, I have taken part in Regional Games, Ireland Games and World Games.
I am involved in the Athlete Leadership Programme. The Athletes learn skills to be advocates for all Athletes. As a Mentor, I volunteered with a Club Athlete at the World Games in Athens. Currently, I am working with another Athlete who is working on her gold award (based on the Gaisce Awards). I have really missed meeting with these Athletes over the past couple of years. We’ve kept in touch on Zoom but I am looking forward to the Forum in October.
Since retiring, I volunteer at the Eastern Region Support Group on Wednesday mornings at the office in Blanchardstown. Unfortunately, Covid interfered with this. We hope to get back in September.
Although emotionally vulnerable at times, I am grateful to Regina and others who have helped me to sort out my disorientated thoughts and feelings. I am also grateful to my family and friends and the many Athletes and Volunteers with Special Olympics.