St Louis Grammar School
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Youth Volunteer from Portglenone is recognised in Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards Programme

5 Mar 2015

Youth Volunteer from Portglenone is recognised in Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards Programme 


Colm Devine from Portglenone, Co. Antrim has been recognised for the motivation, service and impact he has demonstrated for his local community as a 2015 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards top 20 finalist.


Colm who is a sixth year student at St Louis Grammar School Ballymena, has been volunteering at the Down's Syndrome Association of Northern Ireland for almost two years. Colm sees volunteering as a positive way to use his talents to give back to his community by helping those who may not have the same opportunities as him.


Working with the charity on a fortnightly basis for two hours, Colm also attends outings during which he has the responsibility of looking after some members of the organisation.  In his time with the Down's Syndrome Association Colm has participated in a number of activities such as arts and crafts and dancing as well as organising an indoor football event.  Colm also assisted a coach from the Irish Football Association who spent an evening teaching the members football skills.


Colm struggled with a speech impediment and as a result suffered from a lack of confidence and a hesitancy to get involved in activities with people he did not know.  However since working with the Down's Syndrome Association Colm's confidence has grown significantly.  Colm's teacher Jacqueline O'Neill describes him as being "a shining example to his peers, with great courage and integrity,” mentioning that he prioritises volunteering over other commitments someone of his age may have.


The only all-Ireland youth initiative of its kind is run in partnership with The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) and The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI) and recognises outstanding acts of volunteerism by Ireland's youth.


Twenty post-primary students, who hail from all corners of f Ireland, will be presented with €500 and an engraved silver medallion at the gala awards ceremony on 12thMarch in the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa by special guest Brent Pope.  At the gala, two of the 20 students will be named All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year and will receive €1,000 for a charity of their choice, 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.


"The caliber of entrants was exceptional this year and we're delighted to recognise and showcase such exemplary young people,” said Andrea McBride, vice president, Pramerica. "Since we launched the programme in 2006, the awards has given us the opportunity to acknowledge the voluntary activities of hundreds of extraordinary youth ambassadors who are actively making a difference in their communities. They are the future leaders in our society and they are a benchmark for other young people to strive towards.  We are thrilled to honour their commitment to volunteerism through this awards programme.”

The 20 finalists are:

·         Ian Armstrong, Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh

·         Laura Beston, Mount St. Michael Secondary School, Claremorris, Co. Mayo

·        Tamara Bradley, St. Columba's College, Stranorlar, Co. Donegal

·        Garreth Byrne, St. Gerard's School, Bray, Co. Wicklow

·        Megan Daly, Our Lady's Grammar School, Newry, Co. Down

·        Colm Devine, St. Louis Grammar School, Ballymena, Co. Antrim

·        Roisin Dick, St. Louis Secondary School, Monaghan, Co. Monaghan

·        Noreen Donaghey, Loreto Secondary School, Letterkenny. Co. Donegal

·        Sophie Donnelly, Presentation Secondary School, Wexford, Co. Wexford

·        Nathan Goodall, Enniscorthy Vocational School, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

·        Michael Keohane, St. Fachtna's De La Salle, Skibbereen, Co. Cork

·        Stephen Loftus, St. Muredach's College, Ballina, Co. Mayo

·        Hollie Martin, St. Angela's College, Cork, Co. Cork

·        Graham Nelligan, Mercy Mounthawk Secondary School, Tralee, Co. Kerry

·        Eleanor O'Brien, Salesian Secondary College, Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick

·        Sarah O'Neill, St. Anne's Secondary School, Tipperary, Co. Tipperary

·        Caoimhin Osborne, St. Louise's Comprehensive College, Belfast, Co. Antrim

·        Rebecca Scott, Mercy College, Belfast, Co. Antrim

·        Denis Sullivan, Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Blarney, Co. Cork

·        Aileen Toner, Our Lady & St. Patrick's College, Belfast, Co. Antrim


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