Edel Cummins with Lynn Finn of Cathedral Cares at the IIIC in August.

In 2010 Edel Cummins arrived in Boston with her husband, a cardiologist from Dublin. Her husband found work at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, and came over on a H-1 visa. Unfortunately, Edel’s H-4 visa does not allow her to work in the United States. Missing her career and the sense of community that she had found as a nurse in Ireland, Edel visited the Irish International Immigrant Center and met with Danielle Owen, director of the group’s Wellness and Education Services.

“Danielle really made me feel welcome, and helped connect me with the Irish community here in Boston,” says Edel, who immediately started volunteering with the IIIC and has already made a very positive impact.

Edel will be supporting the IIIC’s Home Health Aide classes, which start in September. IIIC partners with the Cumann Áirigh, Runchara Na hEireann (Association of Irish Caregivers and Confidants) and the Professional Nursing Placement Services (PNPS) to run the courses, and Edel will work alongside PNPS’s Executive Director Mary Jo Harney to continue the great work which Maureen McNally, Bridget Giovanello and Nora Bucko have done with the HHA classes since 2009.

“Many people who sign up for the course usually have some experience already in the health-care field, so for them passing the course is the result of their previous hard work & experience,” Danielle Owen says.

“However, many can’t afford the one thousand dollars it costs to get certified, and employers are increasingly looking for certified staff. This is where the IIIC and our volunteers come in.”

Lynn Finn, a nursing friend of the IIIC adds: “The home health aide course also allows folks who are considering a career change to try a health care career on for size.”

Edel also volunteers with Cathedral of The Holy Cross (Cathedral Cares) and says that, “it’s great to give back to the community. I feel like I’ve found the sense of purpose and belonging that I’ve been searching for since I came to Boston.”

To learn more about how you can find your place as a volunteer in the Irish community, make friends, and build a better Boston for future generations of immigrants, please contact Ally Tzovaras or Danielle Owen at 617-542-7654.