Ciaran O’Kane from Coleraine has been recognised for the exemplary volunteer work carried out in his local community as Pramerica announced its 20 finalists for the 2018 Spirit of Community Awards, the only all-Ireland youth initiative of its kind.
A Sixth-year student at Loreto College, Ciaran volunteers with St Vincent De Paul (SVP) in an aim to tackle poverty in his community and further afield and has also completed the Pope John Paul II Gold Award through which he has been actively involved in the parish and social aspects of his community.
In school, Ciaran is part of a social justice group called Justice League which supports the human rights initiative worldwide and has established a drama club in school where he hopes to build the confidence of younger pupils.
As a FAST Ambassador for the Concern Worldwide charity, Ciaran completed training and has carried out presentations to promote the charity. As a leader in the HOPE Limavady Summer Camp since August 2016 Ciaran helps to enrich the lives of young people, encouraging faith development and community participation.
The programme which is run in partnership with the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI), rewards post-primary students for outstanding acts of volunteerism and the positive contribution they make in their local communities and further afield.
“Each year I continue to be humbled by the incredible volunteer work carried out by teenagers and young people in towns and villages across Ireland,” said Andrea McBride, vice president, Pramerica Systems Ireland. “From caring for disabled relatives to helping people with learning disabilities, brain injuries and dementia, so much of the volunteering activities that young people are involved in is going under the radar. Our awards programme aims to shine a light on these dedicated students, by applauding their achievements and encouraging others to give back to their hometown.”
The post-primary students will be presented with €500 and an engraved silver medallion at the awards ceremony on 22nd March at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. This year the top two Junior Honourees will also receive an additional €500 for their chosen charity for the first time. At the event, two of the 20 students will be named All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year, receiving €1,000, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy for their school and an all-expense paid trip to the United States in May to participate in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards ceremony.
For more information about the 2018 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards, which is supported by Volunteer Now, Volunteer Ireland, Scouting Ireland and Foróige, follow the Pramerica Spirit of Community Snapchat (Pramerica.soc) Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter feed @Pramerica_SOC, or visit spirit.pramerica.ie
The 20 finalists are:
Áine Sweeney, from Letterkenny, a Fifth-year student at Loreto Secondary School
Aimee Melaugh, a Fourth-year student at St. Mary’s College Derry
Anna Phelan, from Kilkenny, a Sixth-year at Loreto Secondary School
Ariadna Gómez-Kelly, from Westport, a Fourth-year student at Sacred Heart School
Caoimhe Bennett, from Omagh, a Sixth-year student at Loreto Grammar School
Ciana Roberts, from Bangor, a Sixth-year student at Our Lady And St Patrick’s College
Ciaran McGinley, from Derry, a Fifth-Year student at St Joseph’s Boys’ School
Ciaran O’Kane, from Limavady is a Sixth-year student at Loreto College
Diolain Ward, from Derry, a Sixth-Year student from St Joseph’s Boys’ School
Daniella Timperley, from Randalstown, a Sixth-year student at St Louis Grammar School
Éabha McMahon, from Cork, a Sixth-year student at St Angela’s College Cork
Eimear Byrne, from Dublin, a Sixth-year student from St Pauls Secondary School
Elaine Magee, from Lifford, a fourth-year student at The Royal and Prior School
Grace Mawhinney from Belfast, a Sixth-year student at St. Louise’s Comprehensive College
Jessica McMahon, from Kildare, Sixth year student at St Wolstan’s Community School, Celbridge
Michael Carroll, from Tipperary, a Sixth-year student at Borrisokane Community College Borrisokane
Niall Gosson, from Rush, a Sixth year student from St Joseph’s Secondary School
Orlagh Wilson, from Derry, a Sixth-year student at St Cecilia’s College
Rebecca McKersie from Belfast, a Sixth-year student at Ashfield Girls’ High School
Shane Lawless from Galway, a Fifth-year student at Colaiste Bhaile Chlair, Carmore