J.D. Irving, Limited is celebrating National Volunteer Week April 12-18
Irving, Limited (JDI) celebrates National Volunteer Week and recognizes its many employees who are making a difference in the community. JDI recognizes the key role that it must play in developing and improving the quality of community life.
JDI supports the great work of Big Brothers Big Sisters, especially its in-school mentoring program, an important component of the PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) initiative. The project aims to break the cycle of poverty for students living in identified priority neighbourhoods served by seven local schools by combining a focus on academic achievement with a positive school environment.
In total, over 800 JDI employees support partnership activities including breakfast programs and tours. Over the past 15 years, 65,000 volunteer hours have been donated, both in schools and behind the scenes. Funding for extra teacher and community school coordinators equates to a donation of 34 teaching years from 2001-2015.
“Once I started working with JDI I was lucky enough to figure out that being a volunteer and getting involved with the community is strongly encouraged here,” says Andrew Healy, a Contract Buyer with JDI. “The PALS Program provided a lot of good opportunities and chances for me to get involved to try to create a positive impact here in Saint John.”
Honoured internationally with a “Global Best” award for education partnerships, the PALS model has grown to include 21 schools and over 120 partners in the Saint John area alone. The program continues to grow, with nine other programs across New Brunswick communities and one in British Columbia. Students involved in the PALS program in the Saint John area have seen increased literacy scores by 24%, which is four times above the district average from 2009-2014.
Kim Powell, an Account Manager with Irving Paper has been volunteering at Prince Charles School since its inception of the PALS Program 15 years ago. “I read to a class every week, and no matter what kind of day I am having, the kids make me feel better,” says Powell.
Along with the PALS program, JDI employees are involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters "Bowl for Kids Sake”, the Saint John Dragon Boat Festival, and various other programs within the community.