DIT celebrates student volunteers Minister Noel Ahern to address Award Ceremony

Dublin, 04 April, 2006:  During this academic year, 135 students at Dublin Institute of Technology volunteered to take part in projects initiated through DIT's extensive Community Links Programme, aimed at tackling educational disadvantage.   The student volunteers ranged from first year undergraduates to post-graduates, and represented all faculties and disciplines within DIT. 

To acknowledge their outstanding contribution, the Director of the Community Links Programme has invited the volunteers to an Awards Ceremony on Tuesday 04 April at 5.30 pm at which they will be presented with Certificates of Achievement.  Minister Noel Ahern, who has special responsibility for Community Affairs and who actively promotes the concept of volunteerism, will address the assembly.  The President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton will present the Certificates.

Dr. Thomas Cooke, Director of the Community Links Programme in DIT said he and his team are extremely grateful to the student volunteers and are delighted that their contribution be formally recognized.  "These students worked on some of our most important projects, and we couldn't deliver them without their support.  For example, students in the Computer Science department provided a six-week tutorial on web design to students of CBS Brunswick Street to help them develop and manage their school website.  Others undertook to assist students in three inner city secondary schools by 'mentoring' individual students on a one-to-one basis in a supervised study programme.  Another enthusiastic group travelled to a number of inner-city schools to facilitate class discussions on attitudes to and knowledge of third-level education, while some of our Fine Art students worked with community groups on innovative Community Art Projects involving people of all ages from a number of inner city communities in Dublin."

In addition to assisting projects in the wider community, some student volunteers also gave their time to supporting fellow students in DIT through a 'Peer mentoring programme'.  Peer mentors are 2nd or 3rd year students who support first year students entering DIT on the Access Programme.  According to Dr. Cooke, "The initial few months at college can be very daunting for all students, but more particularly for those who come through the Access programme.  Our Peer Mentors help students with the everyday practicalities and they steer them through the first vital few months to enable them to establish a rhythm of study and assignments."

To celebrate the contribution of all 135 volunteers, the Awards Ceremony will take place in DIT Aungier Street on Tuesday 04 April at 5.30 pm.  After the presentation of certificates, there will be a reception and, as a tribute to the volunteers, the Ballymun Wind Band will play for the assembled guests.  The Band was established ten years ago with the help of DIT's Community Links programme, and is now funded and supported by DIT, the Department of Education and Science and Ballymun Regeneration Ltd. 

 DIT's Community Links Programme:

  • The Dublin Institute of Technology Community Links Programme was developed in 1997.  This programme is a multi-stranded programme targeting educational disadvantage in the primary, secondary, tertiary and community educational sector.
  • Community Links programmes are funded through co-operation and partnership with the educational, voluntary, statutory, community and corporate sector.
  • There are currently 14 staff employed full-time and 7 part time working over
    5 innovative projects
  • DIT Access Service aims to increase familiarity with third level education in disadvantaged second level and primary schools via schools initiatives. The programme aims to facilitate access to third level for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds through the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) and to assist access students in adjusting successfully to DIT and gaining maximum benefit from their time in DIT by providing a range of post entry supports
  • Dublin Inner-City Schools Computerisation Project (DISC) Aims toachieve equality of access, opportunity and training to Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) across inner-city disadvantaged schools. The project is currently working with 42 inner city schools (9 post-primary, 33 primary) with approximately 7,000 young people and 700 teachers in total.The Digital Community Projectwas established following on from the success of the Dublin Inner City Schools Computerisation Project, (D.I.S.C.).  The need to give access to technology at home, for students and parents, was identified and the aim to fully computerise a number of Dublin inner-city flat complexes commenced. The project is an initiative of Dublin Institute Of Technology and partners include: Dublin Inner City Partnership, Dublin City Council, Eircom, Hewlett Packard, and the NCTE
  • Pathways through Education aims to increase self-esteem within two inner city secondary schools; Presentation Secondary School, Warrenmount, Dublin 8 and St Paul's CBS, Nth Brunswick Street, Dublin 7
  • The Ballymun Wind Bandproject promotes the playing of instrumental music in schools. Since the project commenced in 1996 with recorder classes, it has formed a beginners' band, a beginners string ensemble, a secondary school band as well as maintaining the recorder classes as the backbone of the project. There are five schools involved. The project is funded and supported by the Dublin Institute of Technology, Department of Education and Science and the Ballymun Regeneration Ltd. 

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