Spotlight on Volunteers: Patrick Brosnan

Patrick Brosnan is a junior at Pearl River High School.

Born and raised in Pearl River, Patrick Brosnan was taught by his mother and father from a very young age to give back to his community and the world at large by helping those who are less fortunate. 

As our nation looked on in horror at the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, Brosnan was one of those who decided to actually do something about it.  Inspired by one of his two sisters who donated her time the year before, he joined the ranks of the many caring and selfless individuals who went to help the citizens of New Orleans rebuild their city and their lives.

As a junior at Pearl River High School, one of Brosnan’s most notable achievements has been co-founding his school’s chapter of Charity Water with fellow junior Claire Greenwood.  Charity Water is an organization that provides clean drinking water to people in developing countries.

At a young age, Brosnan has already made an impressive positive impact on his world by displaying an awareness and capacity for caring about individuals less fortunate than him at home and in the world at large.  Without a doubt, Brosnan will continue to be an individual who uses his life to better the world around him.

When and why did you first get started volunteering?

I was just taught to give back, that if you have so much that you should give.

When was your first volunteering experience?

This past summer, I went to New Orleans and I built houses there for about a week.  Then Charity Water, about last February, we heard about it up in Boston and I’ve been doing a lot for that.  We raised about $7,500 since last March.

What types of volunteer work are you guys currently involved with?

I went to New Orleans for that and I helped with the St. Bernard project in New Orleans and I’m a member of Youth Court, where we sentence and try underage kids who violated the law, actual criminals, for Orangetown.

What type of tasks or duties have you done as part of these organizations and what new things have you been exposed to?

I definitely learned more about construction, like dry walling and insulating houses and how hard work it is, it’s like 100 degree whether and they do it every day there.  I learned a lot about people in Africa.  I didn’t realize that people didn’t have clean water and that’s something we take advantage of, you just go down to your faucet and get clean water.

In what way has volunteering benefited you personally?

For my birthday in September, I started another campaign for Charity Water.  They have a three month slot for you to raise money so it motivates you, and I was able to raise $5,000, which was able to fund my own well for my birthday in my name, so I thought that was a really cool thing to have achieved and I was really proud of that.

Could you say one thing, or maybe a couple things, about what you really like best about doing this type of work?

Knowing that you’ve helped someone and that you’ve made a difference in the world and that people are very grateful for what you did.

How and why have you continued to find the motivation for volunteering with a busy schedule?

You’ll have that experience forever.  Knowing that you helped that person, you’ll just remember that forever and it’s just a good thing to do.

What do you plan to do after high school?

After high school, I plan on hopefully getting into a good college.  I might want to go to James Madison in Virginia, and I want to work for my dad’s company after college and try to do what he does.  He has a security company and private investigations.

Is volunteering something that you plan to continue to do?

I definitely want to go on another trip this summer to help people building houses or some sort of help and we’re planning a few things for the spring for Charity Water.  We’re doing a concert in May, we’re going to have a Wall Ball tournament and Ultimate Frisbee tournament in the Springtime too.

What advice would you give to other people your age who might be interested in volunteering, might think about it, but haven’t really started doing anything with it and how to get involved or how to get motivated for it?

It is find out what you really feel passionate about.  Once we saw that presentation in Boston, we were just immediately taken aback and we were just like I really want to help them a lot.

What is your best or most meaningful memory about volunteering?

In New Orleans, the house we worked in was actually a home for older people so we didn’t really meet the owner, but we had people come by that had the same thing with them happen, like people who built their house for them with the St. Bernard project and they were just saying how thankful they were that we were doing this work and it meant a lot hearing that from them.

Either that or reaching the goal of $5,000 for the well, which is only a number, but it will take 12 to 18 months for me to see the progress, but then I’ll get GPS points and they’ll send me pictures and it’ll have my name on it so, once I see that, I’ll be really excited.

Know a volunteer who deserves some recognition and would be willing to be interviewed about their work?

Please contact Sam Schaeffer using the “email the author” button at the top of the article.


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