In February, the Western People, a regional newspaper in Mayo, featured the Time to Read partnership between Lionbridge Technologies and Scoil Íosa, Ballina. Representatives from the newspaper went along to the workplace visit in the Emmet St premises where students from Scoil Íosa were invited to visit their volunteer readers at work. The workplace visit is often an exciting aspect of the Time to Read programme, this visit opens up the world of work to the children, and helps to normalize the environment for them. It is often very significant for the children who may have a familial history of unemployment. For the children the whole experience is exciting and adventurous.
Each of the various stakeholders involved in the running of the partnership were featured and gave their views on how the programme has been getting on.
Sheila O’Grady, Principal, Scoil Íosa spoke about the success of Time to Read from the school’s perspective: “We found a knock-on benefit that we hadn’t anticipated until it evolved which is the relationships that have developed between the readers and the children. The readers have engaged in the children’s interests.”
Anne Hegarty Loftus, Home School Liaison Officer mentioned that the benefits of the Time to Read programme are “having a ripple effect in the home place with initiatives like the library visit, which parents are encouraged to participate in, re-awakening the parents’ interest in reading”, adding that “the potential impact of this cannot be underestimated”.
The journalist also spoke to Lionbridge Managing Director, Paul McBride who had this to say: “I have done nothing other than to say that this is a good idea… I’m really interested in this because this is what the future is going to be for so many people and this is the point at which it should start. That’s why we’re really delighted to be able to do it”.
Caitriona Devaney, Time to Read Company Co-Ordinator and Volunteer at Lionbridge added to Paul’s comments with the following: “All we have received is positive feedback from the volunteers. We were actually over-subscribed with volunteers. They really enjoy seeing the kid’s progress. And the training provided has been of personal benefit to the volunteers too, with many of them using the reading related tips and techniques they have learned with their own children at home”
The benefits for companies such as Lionbridge can include aspects such as the personal rewards experienced by volunteers, as well as gaining a real sense of community involvement for the company.