Intel staff work closely with Saplings school for children

By William O'Connor 

In January Intel Ireland announced that Saplings Rathfarnham and Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue had been selected as its 2019 signature charities.

Every year Intel selects two charities for their employees to dedicate their combined efforts towards providing volunteer time and funds, raised through specially organised activities, to these chosen charities.

Intel Signature Charities 2019 3 Eoin Brady and Alan McNally 1

Eoin Brady and Alan McNally working on the children’s activity room

Saplings are special schools for children with autism and complex needs and since embarking on the charity partnership in January, Intel has been working closely with the Saplings school in Rathfarnham on a number of different projects and activities.

One of the key projects to be supported is the Intel Occupational Therapy (OT) room that will house state-of-the-art equipment which is specially designed to help children achieve their maximum potential and to support their learning environment.

Groups of employees from Intel visited the Rathfarnham-based school on a number of occasions to complete a variety of different work.

For example, in the past number of weeks employees have been completing mural paintings on the walls of the OT room, filling the space with bright and colorful creations.

Intel Signature Charities 2019 1 Andrew Murphy and Kevin McGonigle 1

Andrew Murphy and Kevin McGonigle

Employees have also been helping to prepare the children’s activity garden where a range of outdoor OT equipment will be provided.

Earlier this year a group of employees came together onsite at Intel in Leixlip to do a clean-up project on a ball pit from the school. Each ball was individually cleaned and sanitised in order to ensure that the pit could continue to be used by the children.

So far more than 100 employees have volunteered time to support the school, and over the weeks and months ahead there will be many more opportunities for them to continue to help in the preparation of the Intel OT room and to lend their support to projects such as painting a new classroom which is being opened at the school.

Speaking about the Intel OT room, Michael Wood, who is the Saplings Rathfarnham School Principal, said: “When the Intel Occupational Therapy room and facilities are set up and a programme established, we can reach out to other children on the autism spectrum who may also be able to avail of OT services on a private basis as we pilot and test this facility.”

Intel employees also had the opportunity to support a key activity for the Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue as they helped to assemble tee-shirt packs in preparation for the annual ‘Walk the Line’ fundraising event.

The ‘Walk the Line’ event sees people take part in a day-into-night trek to raise money for the mountain rescue organisation. A number of Intel employees also participated in the walk itself.

In addition to employees volunteering their time to support the charities, a number of different fundraising activities have taken place to raise funds which will be shared between both organisations at the end of the year.

A Bake Sale at Intel’s Leixlip campus took place in April, while employees are also being encouraged to make donations to the charities by ‘tapping for charity’ while making a purchase in the Intel canteens.

In June employees will have the chance to take part in a fun colour run, while a charity cycle event will take place in September.

Employees are also gearing up to take part in the first ever ‘Intel Oskars’ which is a special fundraising event in which employees will be working in teams to create 10-minute recreations of some well-known movies that will each be premiered at the Oskars event in October where they vie for a host of awards.

There have also been some remarkable individual efforts by employees to support the chosen charities.

For instance, Cathal Reilly, a member of Intel’s HR organisation, raised over €1,000 through sponsorship for running the London Marathon.

Another Intel employee, Des McCann, ran a league for employees to coincide with the 6 Nation’s rugby tournament, with all proceeds being donated to the signature charities.

Both of the charities will also benefit from Intel’s unique initiative, the Matching Grants Program, which motivates employees to engage in volunteerism by providing cash grants to the organisations where the employees volunteer their time.

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