FIONA Graham from Cappincur and Patricia Harrington from Belmont were both presented with Gaisce Gold awards by President Michael D Higgins.
Seventy Gaisce Gold Awards were presented to young people north and south who excelled and achieved their goals at a ceremony in Dublin Castle.
Gaisce, the President’s Award, is presented to modern day heroes and heroines aged between the ages of 15 and 25 years who achieve personal goals in different types of activity including community involvement, personal skills, physical recreation and adventure.
Both achieved Fiona and Patricia achieved remarkable feats in their communities and abroad. Among Patricia’s feats was setting up a cafe in her local area which was hit by high suicide levels as a meeting place for young people in an effort to get them talking, meeting and socialising. Fiona meanwhile volunteered in Kenya.
It is estimated that Gaisce participants contribute over 550,000 voluntary hours in their local communities each year, a total of six million voluntary hours since the Gaisce Award programme was established in 1985.
This year’s Gold Award recipients include young people who spent time volunteering with organisations working with the poor, the elderly, people with disabilities, and getting involved in youth groups and clubs. Gaisce Award recipients also work with community groups, sporting organizations and charity shops.
John Concannon, Chairman of the Gaisce Awards said, “The Gaisce vision for Ireland is a country where young people dream big and fulfil their potential. This year the contribution and active participation of over 20,000 new young people in Ireland was facilitated through the Gaisce Award.
“The success of Gaisce is enabled by the enormous effort of thousands of volunteer President Award Leaders (PALs) across the island of Ireland, whom I would like to thank for the leadership and support they give to the Award participants,” he added.
Gaisce is a member of The International Award Association, a world body which assists in maintaining the standards of all similar award programmes. In all, 129 member countries operate the Award.