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4th Annual All-Ireland Search Begins for Top Youth Volunteers


Young people across the island of Ireland, who volunteer their time and talents to serve others are encouraged to apply for the fourth annual Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Pramerica Systems Ireland Ltd. in partnership with the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI). 

Beginning the 7th of September, application forms for the 2009-2010 programme are available from principals in all post-primary and second-level schools across the island and can also be accessed at Students must submit completed application forms to their school principals by Friday, the 23rd of October. Principals will review applications from students in their schools and may nominate one student under the age of 16 to advance to a national judging process in a junior category; and/or may nominate one 16- to 19-year-old student to compete in a senior category. These nominations must be posted to Pramerica by Friday, the 13th of November 2009.
“The well-being of our communities and our society as a whole depends on active citizen involvement, therefore we must do all we can to teach our children the value of civic participation and to support them when they give back to their communities,” said Henry McGarvey, managing director of Pramerica Systems Ireland. “The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards programme was created to help do this by focusing attention on the merits of volunteering and by shining a bright spotlight on outstanding young role models.”

All applicants will receive a Certificate of Merit from Pramerica in recognition of their volunteer activities. Those nominated by their principals will be evaluated by a national selection committee on criteria such as personal initiative, effort, commitment, impact and sustainability. From this group, 15 will be named Finalists in late January. Each will receive an unrestricted €500 award, an engraved silver medallion, and an invitation to a gala awards dinner in Cork on the 24th of March 2010. 

At the dinner, two of the 15 Finalists will be named All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year and receive gold medallions, €1,000 grants for the charities of their choice, and an all-expense-paid trip to the United States next May to take part in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards celebration in Washington, D.C.   Last year’s All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year were Robert Cosgrove of Tallaght in Dublin and Christina Wylie of Newry in County Down. Robert was selected for helping other young people stay away from drugs and gang activities. Christina was recognised for working with disabled people and for serving as a caregiver to the elderly.
The national selection committee members will include McGarvey, NAPD President Ciarán McCormack, GTCNI Chairperson Sally McKee, MD of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia Mary Davis and Yvonne McKenna of Volunteer Centres Ireland. “We have seen thePramerica Spirit of Community Awards work wonders for some of the unsung heroes and heroines of post primary schools,” said McCormack. “The young people who have devoted their energies and talents to making a difference in their communities are admirable role models whose dedication and selflessness encourages others to follow suit. Spirit of Community is the megaphone that enables us all to hear about and celebrate these very special young men and women.”

GTCNI Chairperson Sally McKee added, “We are delighted to support and co-sponsor the all- Ireland Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards. The programme recognises and encourages the many young people in our schools who show excellent community awareness by volunteering to help others. Their selflessness and sense of citizenship is something our schools actively promote and support and is something the Council readily endorses.”

Since it was launched in 2006, the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards programme has honoured 55 young volunteers from across Ireland and Northern Ireland with annual award ceremonies in Dublin, Belfast and Letterkenny. The programme is modelled after the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in the United States, which was created in 1995 by Pramerica’s parent company, Prudential Financial, Inc. The programme also has been introduced in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, where Prudential has significant business operations.   

Pramerica Systems Ireland is a state-of-the-art software development, testing and contact centre in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Prudential Financial, Inc. (PFI), a major American
financial services company with operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Pramerica develops, maintains and supports leading-edge technology-based solutions to support the administration, marketing and sales of PFI products and services worldwide. With more than 640 employees, it is one of the largest employers in northwestern Ireland.  
Since its establishment in 2000, Pramerica has developed strong relationships with both local and national voluntary organisations, including the Special Olympics, Junior Achievement and the Bubblegum Charity. Pramerica employees, along with Prudential employees worldwide, participate in a Prudential Global Volunteer Day each year, and the company provides an annual paid day off to all employees to pursue voluntary activities of their choice.

NAPD represents principals and deputy principals in the Republic of Ireland at post-primary level. The association aims to provide a united voice for principals and deputy principals. GTCNI is an independent, self-regulatory body established to represent the professional interests of teachers in Northern Ireland.

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