ESB’s longstanding Time to Read volunteers

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

As the weeks progress I can see their confidence in reading grow from strength to strength. Every Wednesday it is a little break away from my busy work life to an hour full of adventure and a little smiling face.”

The greatest compliment our programmes can receive is when company volunteers enjoy their experience so much that they return year after year to take part. We asked two long term Time to Read volunteers from ESB about their experience with the programme and the benefits they have seen which have led them to continue their involvement.

ESB volunteers read with children from St. Mary's NS, Fairview, Dublin 3

ESB volunteers read with children from St. Mary’s NS, Fairview, Dublin 3.

Michael Carroll, OER Transition Manager HR, ESB

Q1. What brings you back to volunteering for Time to Read year after year?

I think what got me involved and kept me involved was a number of things: I’ve been very fortunate throughout my educational life and I value the fact that I’ve had opportunities.  Some children don’t get those opportunities so anything I can do – however small – I’m happy to do. I’ve been involved in training and development over the years in my HR career and have always enjoyed – and think I have an aptitude for training / teaching events, so I get great satisfaction out of seeing people learn. Finally, from my time on the programme, I’ve really enjoyed seeing the children get something out of the sessions, even where they are really struggling.

Q2. What are the greatest benefits you have seen for the children and for the company from being involved?

For the children, they seem to really appreciate being the centre of attention for the half hour, which is no bad thing – they respond well to the recognition we try to give them. I have seen some (but not all) of the children make significant progress in reading. From the company’s perspective, we have always seen ourselves as part of the community and this is a very good and practical manifestation of that.

Q3. Do you have any favourite moment from being involved with the programme?

Any time one of the children had a ‘Eureka’ moment – i.e., discovered how to pronounce a word or understand a sentence – that, at the end of the day, was the most rewarding.

Business in the Community Ireland

Children from St. Patrick’s GNS, Ringsend with their doodle-bots during their Time to Read workplace visit to ESB Networks, Clanwilliam House.

Fiona Archbold, Legal Executive, Property Law, Enterprise Services Legal, ESB

Q1. What brings you back to volunteering for Time to Read year after year?

I started volunteering for the Time to Read Programme 4 years ago. From the first day being partnered up with the boys to the final graduation day, it is such a wonderful experience. As the weeks progress I can see their confidence in reading grow from strength to strength. Every Wednesday it is a little break away from my busy work life to an hour full of adventure and a little smiling face.  The school are so warm and welcoming and have made it so clear how much this programme means to the boys involved.  The Principal is forever thanking the volunteers for the time we have given up to sit with the boys. I feel very proud knowing I have contributed to the boy’s interest in reading.

Q2. What are the greatest benefits you have seen for the children and for the company from being involved?

The boys are delighted each week to pop down to their volunteers and begin reading. It is a break from the classroom for a half an hour with one on one attention from an adult.  As the weeks progress little bonds are made between the pairings. The boys begin the programme shy and quiet however by the end of the 20 weeks they have become friendly and chatty with their partner. It is great to see the progress the boys make with their reading throughout the programme, most will usually progress to the next level of books by the following January. The choice of books to choose from week to week is wonderful and the boys may request a book of their favourite topic/interest.  I am proud to work for ESB as the organisation has encouraged staff from all over the country to participate in the Time to Read Programme. ESB are giving back to the local communities by helping local schools which portrays a very powerful message.

Q3. Do you have any favourite moment from being involved with the programme?

The work place trips are always a special and exciting time for the boys. The entire class has an opportunity to visit the local ESB Premises, They begin the morning with a fancy big breakfast.  One year the class got to make doodle bots (mini moving robot), young technicians and engineers kindly set up a workshop where the boys each had the opportunity to build their own doodle bot and decorate it with various materials. The buzz in the room was electric the boys had a fantastic couple of hours inventing and getting to understand the workings of the robot.

Business in the Community Ireland

Children from St. Laurence O’Toole GNS, North Wall visit the Windfarm Control Room in ESB Gateway during their Time to Read workplace visit.

We are looking for businesses across Ireland to get involved.

Get in touch for more information: E: sdeegan@bitc.ie | Ph: 01 874 3807