TWO Tipperary students have been honoured for their selfless voluntary work. Pramerica Systems Ireland Ltd. honoured Richard Nolan, Borrisokane, and Shannon Stapleton, Ballynonty for their outstanding volunteer work.
The recognition came during the sixth annual Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards gala in Derry on Thursday night last week.
Richard and Shannon and 18 other Spirit of Community finalists from all corners of Ireland received J500, an engraved silver medallion and personal recognition from former Governor of Mountjoy Prison, John Lonergan.
The 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) – were introduced in Ireland in 2006 to encourage youth volunteerism and to identify and reward young role models. Shannon Stapleton won a special achievement award in the junior category.
Richard Nolan (18) from Borrisokane, is a sixth-year student at Borrisokane Community College. For the past three years, Richard has organised local fundraisers for the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) as the group’s local co-ordinator for Nenagh and surrounding areas. He has been called “an invaluable aid” for his work coordinating local fundraising activities including church gate raffles and the Happy Heart Weekend Campaign.
Richard is dedicated to raising awareness about the IHF and last year gave a presentation to his school during Stroke Week. He plans to take on the extreme challenge of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2012 for the charity.
In addition to his work with the heart foundation, Richard also volunteers with Rape Crisis Midwest. He has raised J1,700 over the past three years as part of the group’s fundraising committee, set up Facebook pages for the organisation and trained staff on how to use these.
“Extremely dedicated to his charitable endeavours, his energy and enthusiasm always strikes me when it comes to helping out,” says Martina Carroll, a counsellor for Rape Crisis Midwest.
Shannon Stapleton (16) Ballynonty, is a fourth-year student at Scoil Ruain, Killenaule. Inspired by her devotion to her father, who is blind, Shannon assists people with disabilities. She helps at Wheelchair Association parties by serving dinner and has volunteered to go to Lourdes at Easter so she can help children with special needs.
At home, Shannon is dedicated to helping her father navigate everyday tasks such as making tea, shopping, shaving and walking. Shannon guides her father on walks describing the things around them. She tries to brighten his spirits when he is depressed. Her goal each day is to give her mother a break and to make her dad laugh.
“Young women like Shannon are a rare treasure in any family and community. She is very modest and humble about her level of care and commitment,” says her teacher, Sister Kate Morris.