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Brendan O’Farrell

Q.1 Can you tell us a little bit about you, who you are and what your interests are?

Hi. I am married for 29 years to my wonderful wife, Denise. We have one son, Jack born in 2003. Denise and I moved to Waterford City from Dublin in 1994, where we live today. When leaving Dublin, my family and friends would jokingly ask me, “where is Waterford? But Waterford and the people have been great for us. We won’t be leaving anytime soon.

I am a DIY enthusiast, I especially enjoy working with wood and upcycling. The second and more indulgent one has been a love of mine since my teenage years (a long time ago) collecting vinyl records. I like nothing better than relaxing, listening to music and reading a good book.

Q. 2 What do you do at Dyspraxia/DCD Ireland?

I am the chairperson of DCDynamos, a Waterford-based club For Children, Teens and Young Adults with Dyspraxia/DCD and their Siblings. It also offers a support network for parents. I have held this position since 2019; previous to that, I was the activities coach.

We (Our brilliant committee and volunteers) run many activities, from arts & crafts, horse riding, learning to cycle, martial arts and our most popular one is the Monday night club which we run in blocks of 6 weeks. That night has an under 12 mixed activities club and young adult/ teenage fitness club.

We also run parent support evenings about every 2 months. These would normally be presentations from professionals in health and education.

Q.3& 4 Why did you decide to volunteer for the organisation? and what is the best part of being a volunteer?

With my coaches hat on, I have watched kids who wouldn’t mix or leave their parent's side, but within 2-3 weeks have a best friend, arrive at the venue running to get in with the biggest smile their young face could produce. We have had parents crying with happiness when they watch their boy or girl cycle for the first time. They might have tried for 3-4 years with no success. To quote a mum upon seeing her son  cycle for the first time, “ We are taking him out of school tomorrow to buy him a new bike. Now we as a family can look forward to a summer of cycling on the Waterford Greenway. This is life-changing”.

On Mondays I often have to drag myself from work to the sports arena for the activities. After our activities I am on a high, I am lucky to get any sleep. As the man says, “I am bleedin buzzin” with happiness. DCDynamos makes people smile. What more can we ask for.

Q.4 Would you recommend volunteering to others?

Yes, is the simple answer. Organisation’s like ours and others have never been funded at any meaningful level by the government. So volunteers become the bedrock for so many clubs and groups; without them, the vast majority would not exist.

While it is taxing on your time, we get to see children be children and blossom; we get to see young adults a little better prepared for life than before they came to any one of the clubs throughout Ireland. This doesn’t happen by accident; it is facilitated by many wonderful people with big hearts, empathy, compassion and a willingness to help others. I only have to look at the wonderful committee and volunteers we have in DCDynamos to see such a perfect example of this.

For me personally, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, a sense of purpose. I love the social interaction with other parents, which I find hugely supportive. To top it all, I get to have an even greater bond with my son, which I will always cherish.

Brendan O'Farrell

Dynamos Multi Activity Club

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