Volunteer with Us
We run two different types of programme in schools: the Reading Buddy Programme and Maths Buddy Programme. Click here for a full volunteer role description.
Suas volunteers spend 7–8 weeks in a local school during the autumn, spring, or summer terms. As a mentor, you’ll visit the school twice a week, and work one-to-one with children on basic reading or maths skills.
Our volunteers have been proven not only to significantly improve children’s literacy, but also their levels of self-confidence.
Reading Buddies engage in paired reading with students between the ages of 8 and 14, offering support and encouragement when required.
Maths Buddies work on very basic maths skills with students between the ages of 7 and 9, including reading numbers, addition, subtraction, and basic multiplication and division.
When you apply, you are signing up to volunteer with Suas for a seven or eight week project. This means you will be committing to attend two one-hour sessions per week. This commitment ensures that we have the best possible outcome for the children we work with.
Suas Ireland Programme
Why should I volunteer with Suas Ireland?
There are few better ways to make an impact on children’s lives than becoming a Suas volunteer. Suas work with designated disadvantaged (DEIS) schools across Ireland to select children who would benefit most from one-to-one support from volunteers. Suas volunteers have been proven to significantly boost the reading, maths and confidence levels of the children involved in the programme.
How do I apply to volunteer?
Click the link at the top of this page to apply, and you will be taken to an application form.
What do I need to do?
First, make sure that this is an opportunity you can fully commit to. If you are applying to become a literacy volunteer, you will need to commit to two hours a week for a total of eight weeks (excluding travel time to / from school). If you are applying to become a numeracy mentor, you will need to commit to two hours a week for a total of seven weeks (again excluding travel time to / from school). Details of the volunteering options (schools, days, times) are available on the application form above.
When/Where does volunteering happen?
Volunteering takes place in our partner schools, during the school day. Sessions take place in a designated “Suas” space, for example the school library, with a school staff member in attendance to supervise the session.
What time slots/locations are available?
You will find a list of available locations and times on the application form. Please note the days and times are set and agreed with our partner schools based on school timetables, and you will not be able to attend a school at a different time than the one listed.
The time slots/locations don’t suit me, what can I do?
New projects are always being added — either for this term, or for the next. Fill in your details on the application form and we can keep you posted on new opportunities as they come up.
What kind of volunteers are Suas looking for?
We are looking for volunteers who are fully engaged and committed to making a difference in a child’s life! Volunteers need to be able to commit to attend sessions twice a week for seven/eight weeks depending on the nature of the volunteering role (literacy/numeracy). Volunteers are role models to the children they will be working with. Volunteers should be respectful, focused and encouraging to the children involved. Consistent attendance and support is critical in making the biggest impact on the children involved. Research has consistently shown the more engaged a mentor, the bigger the results. If you are committed and passionate about helping end educational disadvantage in Ireland, this is the volunteering opportunity for you.
What makes a great volunteer?
First and foremost, consistent attendance is key to ensuring that students get the most of the programme.
Volunteers should be present and enthusiastic during sessions, offering positive reinforcement and guidance throughout. Volunteers should be respectful of the children, school staff and fellow volunteers. Relationship-building between volunteers and children is a crucial aspect of all our programmes (with a third of the session dedicated to this) – be open and positive! Be prepared for sessions beforehand, familiarising yourself with any relevant materials and reviewing previous session notes as needed. Simply put, the best indication of being a great mentor is that, at the end of each session, you and your mentee have made progress with the learning materials and enjoyed your time together.
Do I need to have experience of working with children to volunteer?
No, full training is provided by Suas. All we ask is that you are committed and enthusiastic, and would be comfortable working one-to-one with children on their reading or maths. Refer also to “What kind of volunteers are Suas looking for?”
Do I need to be Garda Vetted and what’s involved?
In order to volunteer with Suas, all mentors need to be vetted by the National Vetting Bureau. Once you submit an application form, you will receive instructions on how to complete the vetting process. There are two forms to complete – a paper form and, once this has been processed, an e-form. As volunteers need to be cleared before they can begin, we rely on applicants to complete and submit forms quickly. Suas staff are on hand to answer any questions at any stage. Click here for details
What training is available and what’s involved?
Training is compulsory and easily completed. Our literacy training is delivered online, and takes approximately 1 hour to complete. Numeracy training is delivered in-person at various central city locations and takes approx 2.5 hours to complete. Suas will share training options available to you once you’ve submitted your application and a briefing session in the school where you will volunteer will also be organised by Suas in advance of you beginning your volunteer role. The briefing session serves as a meet-and-greet for everyone involved in the project. It provides an opportunity for you to meet your fellow mentors, Suas staff and school staff and to learn more about the school where you will be working and the children you will be working with. You can also pose any questions you still have.
I’ve volunteered with Suas before, do I need to re-apply?
Yes, you will need to submit a new application form. Garda vetting is valid for 18 months, so if you have been vetted by Suas within the last 12 months, you do not need to be vetted again for the coming term.
If I have questions at any stage, who can I talk to?
Suas staff are on hand to answer any questions you may have at any stage. Each project will be assigned a Group Leader (normally a fellow volunteer) who will be on hand to answer any questions before or during sessions. Any follow up questions can be addressed to Suas staff who are assigned to your project also.
What happens once I’ve finished volunteering?
You will be invited to a Suas graduation at the end of your project. This is an opportunity for Suas to not only celebrate the children’s achievements, but it is also a chance to recognise the contribution of all of our volunteers. We would also ask volunteers to complete an evaluation survey at the end of the project.