Volunteerism Awards for TCD Community Partnership Helping Local Children in Pearse Street and Ringsend in Dublin

Posted on: 24 April 2007

Promoting Learning in the Community

TCD Provost, Dr John Hegarty, presented the first Provost’s Volunteerism Awards to six members of the local community and the College at a special award ceremony in Trinity College Dublin on Monday, April 23rd last.  The awards were in recognition of their work on the Voluntary Tuition Programme (VTP), a student-community partnership between students and staff from Trinity College , and parents from the Pearse Street and Ringsend areas, involved in educational activities with primary and second-level students.

Every year the VTP matches 400 TCD students, graduates and staff with children studying in nearby schools. These pairs spend an hour per week working together on homework and other educational activities. The VTP with its partner, the St. Andrew’s Resource Centre, also runs a number of smaller educational programmes such as educational clubs (drama, arts and crafts, French and Irish), the Voluntary In-School Initiative for Teaching (VISIT) which teaches French and science at primary level, and language classes. The VTP has been in operation for more than 20 years andto date more than 5,000 local primary and second-level school students have benefited from the programme since its inception.

The Provost presented the awards to six volunteers involved in the Voluntary Tuition Programme, including two members of the local community, three TCD students as well as a TCD staff member. They included Esther Kelly, member of the Pearse Street and Ringsend community, who runs the primary school Drama Club and is also its Treasurer.  Esther, as a concerned parent, became involved in the programme ten years ago and has remained in the programme although her children are now grown.

Fran Murphy, from the Pearse Street and Ringsend community also became involved as concerned parent. Fran now runs the secondary tuition programme at Goldsmith Hall, liaising with parents, tutors and teachers, and is the key link between the programme and schools in the area.

TCD Chemistry lecturer, Stephen Connon, has been Ringsend’s most dedicated tutor over the past two years, tutoring pupils in Irish.

TCD postgraduate of science, Sarah Kimberly, has been involved in the VTP for many years, tutoring pupils as well as helping to promote the programme within College and securing supplies for it.

Psychology and French student, Sarah Gubbins, has been tutoring on the programme for the past four years, while Cillian Murphy, a psychology student has also tutored on the programme throughout his studies in College. As well as one of the programme’s best primary school tutors, Cillian has also been instrumental in running the Parallel Programme including the RAG week and 5-A-side football.

Commenting on the significance of the Voluntary Tuition Programme, the Provost said: “The success of the Voluntary Tuition Programme is thanks to all those who have volunteered and given up their time to tutor on this worthwhile programme, demonstrating that learning is both important and enjoyable.  Through the contribution of community members and TCD students, they have helped and encouraged hundreds of children to avail of educational opportunities and qualifications.”

Also present at the awards ceremony were Trinity College ‘s Community Liaison Officer, Professor Ciarán Brady and Mrs Betty Watson of the St Andrew’s Resource Centre and founding member of the Voluntary Tuition Programme.

The Voluntary Tuition Programme is funded by the Trinity Association and Trust, the TCD Students’ Union and a number of private donations.