Do You Know An Outstanding Student Who Dedicates Their Free Time To Helping Others?

AN awards programme which rewards post-primary students for outstanding acts of volunteerism and the positive contribution they make in their local communities and further afield is calling for applications.

On Friday this week applications for The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards 2016 programme will close marking the ten year anniversary of the scheme.

The annual awards search Northern Ireland and the Republic for the top youth volunteers and to date it’s the only all-Ireland youth initiative of its kind.

Over 1,500 students have been recognised and rewarded for the commitment they have shown in helping others over the last 10 years.

And Irish international and rugby commentator Alan Quinlan says it’s important to encourage eligible young people to apply.

He added: “I am deeply touched and inspired by the level of dedication, commitment and care our young people invest in helping others in their local communities and I’d urge even more young people to get involved in the program which has supported incredible youth volunteers over the past ten years.”

One of last year’s finalists Megan Daly is a shining example of the type of young person honoured by the awards.

Megan Daly with Brent Pope and Andrea McBride from Pramerica Systems Ireland

Megan Daly with Brent Pope and Andrea McBride from Pramerica Systems Ireland

Megan, 19, from South Armagh overcome real adversity in her life in the last few years having lost her mother to breast cancer and her grandfather to the degenerative Motor Neurone disease.

Yet through all of this she travelled to Poland with Habitat for Humanity to renovate homes for families in real crisis.

Closer to home, Megan gives her time and is very motivated to work with and support a number of cancer charities and is very active encouraging other students to donate to charities like the Romanian Shoe Box Appeal.

She said: “My mum was first diagnosed with breast cancer when I was nine and after years of ups and downs with different treatments, she passed away when I was 17.

“Then a few days after my mum passed, my grandad was taken to the hospital where they discovered he had Motor Neurones Disease and he passed very suddenly.

“It was a difficult time for me as my mum passed away the morning I returned from my Habitat for Humanity trip, so I didn’t see her for her last week and I didn’t get to say goodbye properly.

“My dad actually decided to start a charity in memory of my mum called ‘All in for Ann’ where money is being raised for Cancer Focus NI.”

Recently Megan left home to study Dietetics at Coventry University but says she will definitely be keeping on her fundraising and volunteering activities.

“I’m going to try and keep up with my volunteering and do as much as I can along with my studies” she said.

Application forms for the The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards 2016 are available at Students must complete their applications and submit them to their Principal or Deputy Principal by 23 October. Principals then have until November 6 to nominate students for national-level recognition.

About the Author

Tina Calder
Journalist, commentator, author and content creator specialising in showbiz, entertainment, business, trade, human interest and lifestyle.