General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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GTCNI Co-Sponsor Awards Programme To Honour Outstanding Youth Volunteers


Calling on all Youth Volunteers in Northern Ireland to enter!

Pictured at the launch of the Pramerica Spirit in the Community Award are (left) Gerry Devlin, Senior Education Officer GTCNI and Henry McGarvey, Managing Director of Pramerica

A two-month search for the top youth volunteers in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland began today with the launch of a unique programme that awards young people for their involvement in community service activities.The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards will solicit applications over the next two months from post-primary and second-level students who have engaged in volunteer community activities during the past year. All applicants will be recognised with certificates. The top 20 will be honoured at a gala dinner celebration in Dublin next March, where they will receive €500 awards and engraved silver medallions.

The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards programme is sponsored by Pramerica Systems Ireland Limited, a Prudential Financial, Inc.* (PFI) company located in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD); and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI). It is modeled after PFI's Spirit of Community Awards, a youth-recognition programme that has been very successful for many years in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Eddie McArdle Registrar of GTCNI said "The Spirit of Community Awards recognises the positive contribution that many young people make to their local communities. The form of active citizenship which it promotes is a central feature of citizenship education in Northern Ireland's schools which encourages young people to engage positively with their communities for their mutual benefit. In promoting this award, in partnership with GTCNI and NAPD, Pramerica is providing important recognition to young people and their schools."

At the dinner in March, two of the 20 finalists will be named "All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year" and will receive additional €500 prizes, gold medallions, €1,000 grants for the charities of their choice, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. next May to join honorees from the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Taiwan at the national recognition events for the American Spirit of Community Awards programme. An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will present the finalists and the two youth volunteers of the year with their awards.In addition, all schools that submit applications for the 2007 programme will be entered in a draw to win €1,000 on the night of the awards dinner.

"There is growing recognition that we must do more to promote a sense of community and volunteerism in Ireland, and we believe this programme can make a meaningful contribution to that effort," said Henry McGarvey, managing director of Pramerica Systems Ireland. "Stressing the importance of civic involvement to young people is probably one of the most important things we can do to ensure healthy, vibrant communities in the years ahead."

Programme information and application forms have been distributed to all post-primary and second-level schools in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Information and forms also are available at Students will have until the 26th of October to complete their applications and submit them to their principals.Principals will then certify the applications and submit them to a judging panel made up of Pramerica Systems Ireland, NAPD and GTCNI officials who will select 20 finalists and announce them in early February. Finally, a distinguished All-Ireland Selection Committee chaired by former Nobel Peace Prize-winner John Hume will pick two All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year, who will be announced on the 22nd of March in Dublin at the gala awards dinner for all of the finalists. NAPD Director Mary McGlynn and GTCNI Registrar Eddie McArdle also will serve on the All-Ireland Selection Committee.

For further information from GTCNI please contact Mark Mc Laughlin, Public Relations Officer on (028) 90348791 or email [email protected].


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