Eight volunteers from Donegal County Council were awarded with the 2016 Junior Achievement Ireland Awards last week.
The programme sees volunteers from the Council giving 45 minutes of their time each week to deliver a six week course in different primary schools in their areas.
Donegal County Council have been involved with the Junior Achievement Programme in Donegal since 2003 .
There are several themes in the Junior Achievement programme for children at different stages of their primary school education:
-Our City (8 – 9 years),
-Our Region (9 – 10 years),
-Our Nation (10 – 11 years)
-Our World (11 – 12 years).
For instance, the theme Our Nation explores business operations and economic issues in Ireland and sees children role play business ownership, interview for jobs, produce a product using different methods of production, create product advertisements and conduct an annual shareholders meeting.
Junior Achievement Co-ordinator in Donegal Patricia Friel said: “The programme creates a great interest and awareness in the students about their own environment at school, at home, the area they live in and how development occurs.
“By working with organisations like Donegal County Council we are able to connect local students with local volunteers who in turn share their insights and expertise, linking the classroom and the ‘real world’ to enhance their learning experience. I am very grateful to Donegal County Council for their ongoing support.”
Mary Elliott is one of the Donegal County Council staff members who volunteer on this programme, and believes that while every student gets the chance to be involved in different ways, it is also a great learning experience for the volunteers. Ms Elliot said: “Students are so positive and have a clear understanding of various aspects of the business world and very often they teach us, as programme deliverers, to have a more socially inclusive approach to their world also!”
Certificates are issued to all the students who take part in the programme and the volunteers also receive a certificate of recognition at the end of every year.
The Council staff who received certificates of recognition included Bobby Smith, Martin Roarty, Fiona Wasson, Caroline Mc Cleary, Caitlin Uí Chochláin and Mary Elliott.