Back in November 2014 fifteen slightly nervous volunteers from Arup in Dublin’s Ringsend assembled at nearby St Patrick’s Boys National School for the start of what would be a wonderful journey of stories, fun and discovery with the 2nd class boys.
Fast forward to the following May and the last T2R session, great friends and memories had been made and Arup were definitely up for doing it all again! “It was a wonderful experience, both for the children and the volunteers. You could see the children’s confidence in their reading and in their interaction with the volunteers increase as the weeks went by” reported one volunteer. They unanimously said they’d recommend the programme to friends of colleagues and sure enough not only are Arup in Dublin doing the programme again this year with lots of new volunteers but they suggested their Cork colleagues might want to get involved.
Cork immediately took to the suggestion and had 16 volunteers trained and ready to go with nearby Sunday’s Well Boys National School a few months later. What a great year the Cork office is having with the boys, the highlight so far was bringing the whole class to the city centre office in March where they paraded around in hard hats and hi viz vests, proudly proclaiming they wanted to be engineers when they grew up!
How is the programme going for the Cork volunteers? “We’re really enjoying it” says Padraig Coakley, who is co-ordinating the programme within Arup as well as volunteering himself, “We look forward to going to the school on Thursday mornings, there’s a lovely atmosphere there and we always have fun with the boys. Internally it has been a great team-building experience, and there is a real feel-good factor for the volunteers. Overall it has been very positive”. There’s no doubt that Arup’s Cork programme will get the thumbs up this year!