Ping Cao

Ping Cao Volunteers of Louth

“The satisfaction you get from volunteering is not something you can buy.”

Ping began her volunteer journey when she first came to Dundalk 20 years ago. She started volunteering with Oxfam “they were looking for volunteers for 2 hours a week, so I started from there.” Ping later went on to register with Louth Volunteer Centre in 2013 and has been a very active volunteer.  

Ping is very happy with the support she receives from Louth Volunteer Centre. “I get emails every week to update me about what roles are available.” Ping also likes that she would get phone calls from Louth Volunteer Centre to check in with her to see how she is getting on and if there is any other support they can offer. “I think it’s very good, I am very happy with it.” Ping would recommend people interested in getting involved in volunteering should register with Louth Volunteer Centre. “I regularly recommend registering with Louth Volunteer Centre to my students, they have so many skills to share.”  

When I spoke to Ping about why she started volunteering she told me “I was new to Dundalk and I wanted to get to know the area, volunteering gave me that opportunity and the chance to get to know local people.” Ping has been motivated to continue volunteering as she feels she has the time to do it and enjoys getting the opportunity to be part of several different organisations. “You know you are doing the right thing, something good.”  

Ping feels that volunteering has really helped her skills in a variety of areas, professionally and personally. “The last few years volunteering has really helped me with my parenting skills.” Ping likes to bring her children to some volunteer roles with her and feels it helps her to teach them empathy and appreciation for what they have. She also feels that it allows her to spend time with her children and connect with them in a positive way. “It has helped me to teach them their social responsibility and it has helped with their personal development.” Ping has volunteered in roles such as SOSAD and ISPCC and these have provided her with training that has helped her to be able to have conversations with her children around mental health.  

Ping really enjoys all the volunteer roles she gets involved in but a particular moment that has stood out to her was when she was volunteering with teenagers as a classroom assistant. “I could see they were uncomfortable at the start and that they didn’t know how to approach me even though my role was to support them. I was able to use my skills from working as a teacher and apply them to the volunteer role.” Ping found great satisfaction when the teenagers began opening up to her and connecting with her. “By the end I got on really well with them, I really enjoyed it.”

Ping was recently recognised at the award ceremony held by Louth Volunteer Centre and Louth County Council for her volunteering efforts during the pandemic. Ping explained that when volunteers stepped up to help during the pandemic, they never expected anything for it.  “It was a privilege and very unexpected. I was so happy to receive that recognition.”  

Ping would encourage everyone to get involved in volunteering. She would recommend “start small, maybe with a once off event and see what you think of it. Then if you want you could do some more continuous roles.” Ping also recommended looking at roles that you have an interest in “if you are doing something you are interested in it is hard to be disappointed.”