Offaly youth volunteers encouraged to enter Spirit of Community Awards

By Offaly Express Reporter

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By Offaly Express Reporter

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Offaly youth volunteers encouraged to enter Spirit of Community Awards

James Butler

The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards programme, the only youth initiative of its kind, has launched its search for Ireland’s top young volunteers of 2017 and is calling on County Offaly students to enter the awards. Applications are now open at www.pramerica.ie/spirit.

The awards programme, which recognises post-primary students for outstanding acts of volunteerism, has been rewarding the work of inspiring young people across the island of Ireland for 11 years.  In that time, Pramerica has rewarded over 200 young volunteers to highlight the considerable impact they make in their local communities.

James Butler, blogger, social media expert and volunteer, was on hand to launch this year’s awards. “Volunteering has been an important part of my life for over eight years, however, it’s something that not many people know about,” said Butler. “Giving our time and commitment to causes that affect our families, our communities and those further afield is one of the most admirable traits you can find in people. That is why it is such a positive sign for our society to see young people putting themselves forward, despite any adversity they have in their own lives, to help those that are less fortunate. 

“The Pramerica Spirit Community Awards gives a voice to these selfless young people and what they are doing. The awards inspire us as to how important volunteering is and encourages us all to put the phones and the tablets down and do what we can for those who need it,” he said.

“Pramerica believes in supporting young people committed to making a difference in their local communities, who see the challenges that society faces and are determined to create positive outcomes,” said Andrea McBride, vice president, Pramerica.

“After 11 years, the stories of the contributions of these young people still makes me sit back in admiration,” she said. “I’m looking forward to finding out about the outstanding work of new volunteers across Ireland through our awards programme this year.”

The closing date for student online submissions is October 21. Principals then have until November 11 to nominate up to two students from their school for national-level recognition, from which 20 finalists will be selected to go forward to national judging.

Two overall winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony in March 2017. These All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year will be awarded €1,000 each for their chosen charity and a trip to Washington, D.C. for the annual international Prudential Spirit of Community Awards celebration. The 20 finalists will all be awarded €500 for their charities at the ceremony.

The Awards’ partners include the National Association of Principals & Deputy Principals (NAPD) and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI). The programme is also supported by notable organisations including Volunteer Now, Volunteer Ireland, Foróige and Scouting Ireland.