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Education Minister Calls On Pupils To Enter Volunteer Awards

22 September 2014

Volunteer Now encourages young volunteers from across the island of Ireland to apply for the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards.

Education Minister John O’Dowd and Minister for Education and Skills in the south, Jan O’Sullivan, TD are encouraging Ireland’s youth north and south to apply for the 2015 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards Programme, which recognizes young people for exemplary volunteer service.

The call was supported by The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) and The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI), which partner with Pramerica Systems Ireland, located in Letterkenny, in the recognition programme that recognises and rewards outstanding acts of volunteerism by Ireland's post-primary school students  for volunteer work carried out in their local communities and abroad.

At a reception in The College of Anaesthetists in Merrion Square North, both Ministers encouraged schools across the island to nominate  young people who give their time, energy and spirit to make a positive impact on their communities.

Speaking at the event Minister O’Dowd said: “Volunteering is an excellent way to develop students’ personal skills which are vital to future learning and employment.  Volunteering provides an invaluable service within local communities and I believe every young person has a role to play in helping to improve those communities.  I am always amazed at the range and variety of volunteering that young people become involved in.  These awards acknowledge the commitment and passion that young people have in giving up their time to help others and I welcome the opportunity that the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards provides in recognising the excellent young role models who inspire and motivate others.”

Caroline Faulkner, Senior Managing Director and Chief Information Officer of Pramerica Systems Ireland, which launched the program in Ireland in 2006, said, “Many young people take part in volunteer activities that have a real impact at a local as well as a national level.  We continue to be inspired by the selfless acts of our young people who are so passionate about serving people in their communities.

“With the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards, we shine a spotlight on the young people who unselfishly reach out to others.  I encourage all post primary students to volunteer and to apply to our programme so that we can share their wonderful work and celebrate the strength of volunteerism in Ireland.”

Since its inception, The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards has honoured more than 150 youth volunteers from across Ireland for their volunteer work and the 2015 awards programme provides an opportunity to salute deserving students who are involved in community service activities.

The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards is open to all post primary students who volunteer in their community, at school or abroad.  To apply for a 2015 award, students must download the application at www.pramerica.ie/spirit, and then submit the completed form to their school principal by the 24 October, 2014. Principals have until 7 November to nominate students for national-level recognition. Every school can submit a maximum of two applications to go forward for national judging.

Twenty finalists will be selected and each will win a cash prize of €500, an invitation to the Gala Awards dinner and recognition for their school. Two All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year will be selected from the finalists, each of whom will receive €1,000 for their chosen charity and a trip to the United States.