Sean Latimer, Mechanical Engineer and one of the founding members of Cirdan has been volunteering for the past twelve years with the Time to Read program at Christ The Redeemer Primary School, Belfast.
Time to read is a volunteering initiative, developed by Business in the Community and supported by the Department of Education. It aims to improve literacy, foster a love of reading, and build confidence and social skills of children at Key Stage 2 in local primary schools.
Sean first became involved with Time to Read around 2008. He opted to volunteer as one of his own children had been through an accelerated reading program a few years earlier and Sean had seen the benefits of this one-to-one exercise and wanted to give something back. When asked about volunteering Sean said:
“After the initial get to know you period, the children and the volunteer really do form a bond and it is very rewarding when you see a young, shy individual eventually start to come out of their shell and form a conversation, read a little more fluently and at times take control of the time and start to lead in what they want and need to do, to improve their own abilities either within a reading context or a more general social context. I would recommend anyone to give this a go, even for a one-year period. I have now worked with upwards of thirty children over the years and still enjoy it as much as I did in the very first year. It is a rewarding experience in many ways and something I will look back on in later life and be very thankful that I had the privilege of being allowed to be part of it.”
· Provides an insight into the business world.
· Motivates and develops children academically and socially.
· Introduces children to a positive role model from the world of work.
· Enables children to work on a one-to-one basis improving communication skills, confidence, and self-esteem.
· Develops staff confidence.
· Increases self-esteem and communication skills.
· Motivates staff and enhances teamwork.
· Raises company profile in the local community.
· Builds partnerships with local schools.
For more information on the Business in the Community Time to Read initiative visit: https://www.bitcni.org.uk/programmes/time-to-read/