“It’s ironic that we sit at the edge of Dublin`s financial district, but it took a company from Canada to come all this way to help us.” That was Paul Ryan, Director of the Sheriff Street Youth Club, speaking this past April after 55 volunteers from Toronto-based Foresters Financial rolled up their sleeves to help upgrade the club’s aging facilities.
“For three hours straight they painted the club’s gym, hallways, bathrooms, railings and the boys’ locker room,” recalls Joanne Keating, one of our Program Managers here at Meridican. “In the main activities room the group installed lockable storage shelves to safeguard the art supplies and musical instruments that are used during the evening activities, and they also donated a new microwave and Ikea desks and chairs, and a play kitchen – all of which had to be built.”
Foresters, one of our longtime clients, is an international company that provides a range of financial products and services such as life insurance, savings, retirement and investment solutions. When Foresters Financial holds their annual broker conferences, they always ask us to dedicate time in their itinerary for a CSR (corporate social responsibility) activity that benefits children and families in the communities they visit.
For the program this past April, our team’s research turned up Sheriff Street Youth Club. We instantly knew it would be a perfect fit for Foresters, and so, we (ahem) called the Sheriff.
Located on Sheriff Street in Dublin’s North Inner City, the club has been a welcoming place for disadvantaged young people since 1974. Their mandate has always been to provide youngsters of all abilities, ages and race with a sporting outlet and a positive focus to keep them off the streets and away from crime and drugs. Solely managed by a team of volunteers without any government assistance, the Sheriff Street Youth Club serves approximately 500 underprivileged kids a week.
Helping communities has been part of the Foresters’ company culture since its inception in 1874, when it set out to provide access to life insurance for average working-class families. Today, closing in on 150 years later, their focus on making the world a better place for children and families has not wavered. As Rob Baboth, Foresters’ VP of Sales in Canada, says: “We are driven to share, not share holder driven.”
Now our team is working on Foresters’ 2018 conference, which will take place in Jamaica. “As always,” says Joanne, “we will be sourcing viable CSR projects that incorporate their philosophy of benefiting children and families.”