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Recognising young volunteers



L-R Ciaran Harvey (Pramerica), Caiomhe McGonigal (Loreto), Mark English (Athlete), Andrea McBride (Pramerica)

Ireland-wide search for youth volunteers of the year

Students from across Ireland who volunteer in their local community are being encouraged to apply for the 2017 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards before the deadline of 21st October at

The only youth initiative of its kind which recognises post-primary students for outstanding acts of volunteerism, The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards has been rewarding the work of inspiring young people across the island of Ireland for 11 years. In that time, Pramerica has rewarded over 200 young volunteers to highlight the considerable impact they make in their local communities. 

One of Ireland’s most revered athletes, Mark English, is encouraging students to enter the awards, and asking others to encourage young volunteers they know to apply. “It is great to see an awards programme that provides a platform for young volunteers from across Ireland to be recognised,” he said. “At the heart of all the volunteers that I have met throughout the course of my career is their caring attitude, and I would encourage anyone who helps in their local community, even in the smallest way, to enter the awards before it’s too late.”

Youth volunteers from across the island of Ireland can submit their application online before the 21st October. Principals then have until 11th November to nominate up to two students from their school for national-level recognition. 

“We would encourage all school principals to shine a light on their pupils’ inspirational volunteering stories and enter the awards to celebrate the strength of volunteerism in Ireland,” said Andrea McBride, vice president, Pramerica Systems Ireland.

Two overall winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony in March 2017. These All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year will be awarded €1,000 each for their chosen charity and a trip to Washington, D.C. for the annual international Prudential Spirit of Community Awards celebration.

The 20 finalists will all be awarded €500 for their charities at the ceremony. 

James Butler, blogger, social media expert and volunteer, also lent his support to the awards (see the video: “Giving our time and commitment to causes that affect our families, our communities and those further afield is one of the most admirable traits you can find in people,” he said.  “That is why it is such a positive sign for our society to see young people putting themselves forward, despite any adversity they have in their own lives, to help those that are less fortunate.  

“The Pramerica Spirit Community Awards gives a voice to these selfless young people and what they are doing. The awards inspire us as to how important volunteering is and encourages us all to put the phones and the tablets down and do what we can for those who need it,” he said.

The Awards’ partners include the National Association of Principals & Deputy Principals (NAPD) and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI). The programme is also supported by notable organisations including Volunteer Now, Volunteer Ireland, Foróige and Scouting Ireland.

For updates on this year’s awards, like the Pramerica Spirit of Community Facebook page, join the conversation on Twitter, or follow us on Instagram.

For further information, contact Shane Finnegan or Aoife Kelly at AIKEN on 02890663000 or [email protected]

Notes to Editor

*Key Dates to Remember*

•    Registration for the 2017 programme opens: 1st September 2016

•    Closing date for students: 21st October 2016

•    Closing date for principals/deputy principals: 11th November 2016

o    Each school principal/deputy principal at this stage will have selected a maximum of two applications to go forward for national judging.

•    Announcement of Top 20 finalists: 6th February 2017

•    Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards Gala Dinner: 23rd March 2017

•    Two All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year to travel to Washington, D.C.: May 2017

About the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards
The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards programme is modelled on The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, which was created in 1995 in the United States by Pramerica's parent, Prudential Financial, Inc. (PFI)*. Since then, nearly 375,000 young Americans have participated in the programme and more than 115,000 have won awards. The programme has been widely praised by educators, government officials, parents and community leaders. 

PFI has introduced the programme in other countries where it has a significant business presence: Japan in 1997, South Korea in 1999, Taiwan in 2000, Ireland in 2006, India in 2010, China in 2013 and Brazil in 2015.

In Ireland a number of leading public figures have supported and participated in the programme including Bertie Ahern, John Hume, Caitriona Ruane, Mickey Harte, Declan Kidney, John Lonergan, David Coleman and Martin O’Neill.

About Pramerica
Pramerica Systems Ireland Limited, located in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, began operations in 2000 and has more than 1,100 employees. It provides essential computer-technology and client-contact services to PFI businesses around the world. Its Information Technology group develops software and other systems solutions for PFI business groups and its Operations group functions as a back-office contact centre and delivers a suite of professional service for PFI business groups.

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) represent 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.

The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI) is an independent, self-regulatory body established to represent the professional interests of teachers in Northern Ireland.


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