For the dedication she has demonstrated in service to her community, Chelsea Gibson, from Cashel has been recognised as one of 20 finalists in the 2017 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards.
The Awards are the only all-Ireland youth initiative of its kind which rewards post-primary students for outstanding acts of volunteerism and the positive contribution they make in their local communities and further afield.
Chelsea, a sixth year student at Cashel Community School, has been volunteering in her community for nine years and is inspired by finding new and innovative ways to help others. Chelsea began her volunteering career with the Order of Malta and is heavily involved in cadet training, the senior unit and community care. Now as an Order of Malta senior member she is often to be found attending duties at national and local events including the National Ploughing Championships. She is also a member of her local Youth Project, for which she sits on the Junior Board of Management and has trained specifically to be able to volunteer for seasonal camps for primary school children and those with disabilities. She also works with the Youth Work Ireland National Youth Action Group which works to ensure that voices of young people in this country are heard.
“Chelsea is a wonderful example of someone choosing to ‘do all the good that you can, when and wherever you can,’ said Deputy school principal Margaret Moore. She is an extremely self-effacing young lady who has met significant challenges in her personal life. Instead of using these as an excuse to abdicate from the responsibilities of young adulthood, she has used these experiences to grow and develop into an extremely emphatic young lady.”
The post-primary students, who hail from all corners of Ireland, will be presented with €500 and an engraved silver medallion at the gala awards ceremony on 23rd March at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin with special guest speaker Irish international rugby player Jordi Murphy. At the gala, two of the20 students will be named All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year, receiving €1,000, 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 20 finalists are extremely passionate about the work they carry out in their local community, and their stories are truly inspiring,” said Andrea McBride, vice president, Pramerica Systems Ireland. “From supporting young people with Down syndrome to travelling to work in an orphanage abroad, they are aiding a broad range of charities and organisations through their selfless acts of volunteerism. It is humbling to see the commitment and dedication from these young people, and we are honoured to recognise the volunteering they are doing in their local schools, communities and abroad to make the lives better of those less fortunate than themselves.”
The programme is run in partnership with the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI). The programme is also supported by Volunteer Now, Volunteer Ireland, Scouting Ireland and Foróige.