“Your University graduation is a celebratory day. A day to gather with friends and family recognising and honouring all the late night library visits, essays and exams, the sum of which somehow amounted to that piece of paper you get handed on the podium. It’s a day to get dressed up and take photos with your scroll, cap and gown. It’s a day to enjoy the company of your peers one last time before ultimately saying goodbye to that chapter of your life and moving on to the next. For many, it is a daunting day, as they question their next move, unsure of what the future will hold. For me, I graduated at 2.30 p.m. on the 4th September 2019. While my friends were prepping themselves for the big day, two hours before, I was saying hello to One in Four.

I didn’t realise at the time, on that day that I both interviewed for a position in Fundraising with One in Four and graduated from University, the impact that those events would have on my life. Saying goodbye to my university years was harder than I had anticipated and saying hello to One in Four and the world of fundraising was so much more rewarding than I ever could have imagined. Within two weeks of my graduation, I walked into the office on Holles Street for the first day of my graduate job. The first fundraising event I worked on was the abseil in Croke Park, which took place just over a month later. That was then followed by many street collections and bag packs as we approached the Christmas season. I quickly fell in love with my job and revelled in meeting fundraisers and supporters on the street or at events, or reading the messages that came in with online and postal donations. Sitting in the office and hearing the doorbell or the phone ring, I knew that it was because of the people I had met the previous day packing bags in Marks and Spencers, and that person I had written a thank you card for that morning, that whoever was coming in or on the phone was able to get the help and support they needed with us.

2020 arrived, and John and I worked together to plan an amazing year of fundraising. From a Strictly Come Dancing event to a trip abroad to walk the Camino de Santiago, we began preparing a phenomenal year of fundraising. By March, we had venues booked, deposits paid and fundraisers signed up, but we could not have anticipated what came next. On the 16th March 2020, I went to the office for the last time, as from the 17th on, we began working from home due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Suddenly, all of our hard work felt as though it had been done in vain. The transition to remote working was rocky, as we had to adjust to a virtual fundraising capacity and focus on postponing and cancelling our events. One thing I remember feeling was complete awe. I was amazed at how our phenomenal supporters recognised our struggles and stepped up to help. The donations we received over the pandemic felt more special than ever before. The donors understood that we were going through a challenging, uncertain time, and it was those donors that pulled us through. We were confronted with the pressure to ensure the clients continued to get the support they needed in the face of all the additional challenges that came with isolation and, having cancelled all of our fundraising events, this would not have been possible without the immense generosity of our supporters.

I am now almost two years with One in Four, and I can’t believe how fast that time has gone. They have undoubtedly been a challenging two years, with only six months spent in the office, but the experience I have gained and the people I have met, colleagues, fundraisers and supporters, have equipped me with faith in, and an appreciation for, the good that is all around us, even in times of adversity. I have never met such a dedicated team, who work tirelessly towards creating a better Ireland, towards ensuring every person that comes through our door gets the support they need and deserve and towards a shared vision of ending the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. I am incredibly lucky that on my graduation day, that day of goodbyes, I also said hello to an organisation that would go on to shape the next chapter of my life in such an extraordinary way.”

Eva Kavanagh

Fundraising Officer