Olympian Mark English encourages young people to volunteer

11th annual Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards launched

Carolyn Farrar

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Carolyn Farrar

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carolyn.farrar@donegaldemocrat.com

Olympian Mark English encourages young people to volunteer

Mark English who launched the awards earlier today

Olympic runner Mark English today launched the 11th annual Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards, which recognises the contributions of young volunteers.

The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards programme, the only youth initiative of its kind, has launched its search for Ireland’s top young volunteers of 2017.

“My message to students is your acts of volunteering can and will have an impact,” Mark told the launch audience at Pramerica offices in Letterkenny. He said he saw the awards as, “a great way to celebrate active citizenship and service to one’s community.”

The Olympian spoke of the importance of all the volunteer coaches who have helped him develop as an athlete since he was in primary school, saying, “I have been a huge beneficiary of the generous and kind acts of many volunteers who have touched my life.”

Adrian McMyler, a fourth year student at Scoil Mhuire in Buncrana, has been pioneering volunteer initiatives since he was in primary school, and was a Pramerica junior volunteer of the year in 2016.

“I would encourage young people to volunteer, giving back to the community a better place to live for now and the future,” he said.

The awards programme recognises post-primary students for outstanding acts of volunteerism. In the past 11 years, Pramerica has rewarded more than 200 young volunteers across the country to highlight the impact they make in their own local communities.

“At Pramerica we passionately believe in supporting the young people that are committed to making a difference in their communities, those that see the challenges society faces and are determined to influence positive outcomes,” Andrea McBride, vice president of systems at Pramerica Systems Ireland, told the launch audience.

“These young people are a beacon to the rest of society and it is an honour to recognise their vibrancy and inspiration,” she said.

There are two categories in the all-island 2017 awards: Junior category for students under age 16 on January 1, 2017; and senior category for students under age 19 on January 1, 2017.

Every school can submit a maximum of two applications, and school principals and deputy principals are responsible for selecting the two applications to go forward for national judging.

The application deadline is October 21 of this year and applications can be made online at www.pramerica.ie/spirit