Two Donegal students have been recognised as two of the finalists in the 2017 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards.
Dylan Nesbitt, Convoy and Aoife Gillespie, Stranorlar are among 20 finalists in the only all-Ireland youth initiative which rewards post-primary students for outstanding acts of volunteerism in their local communities and further afield.
Dylan is a fourth year student at Deele College, Raphoe, who is described as a dedicated member of his local GAA club who began showing up at the junior teams’ training to help out as he knew the club was under resourced from a coaching perspective. He was later inspired to commit to the club on a long term basis. In doing so, he undertook hours of official training, from coaching to child safety, in his own time to ensure that his work would have the most positive affect possible.
Dylan continues to spend a lot of his personal time outside of school at the club helping out.
Principal of Deele College, Raphoe says; “Dylan is very dedicated young man who loves a challenge and has such a caring heartfelt attitude to life that would inspire many people.”
Aoife, a sixth year student at St Columba’s College and has been volunteering her entire life. As Deputy Mayor of the Donegal Youth Council, Aoife has worked with numerous organisations including the Health Service Executive and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to highlight mental health issues, internet safety and road safety. Having personally witnessed the tragic impact of cyber bullying and road traffic accidents in her local area, Aoife used the impact that these events had on her to raise awareness of these issues among students, politicians and other organisations nationally. Through her work with DYC, Aoife also worked with their Shake Up Sports initiative to encourage young people who have dropped out of sports to try new sporting activities. She has also been involved with Cycle Against Suicide and Donegal Road Safety.
Guidance Counsellor Georgina White commended Aoife on her volunteering saying it; "Shows a selfless willingness to contribute for the overall good of other students and the school in general.”
A gala awards ceremony will take place on March 23rd at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin. The post-primary students, will be presented with €500 and an engraved silver medallion at the awards ceremony.
Two 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.