The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards will this week honour two Donegal students among Ireland’s Top Youth Volunteers for 2018. Elaine Magee, from Raphoe and Áine Sweeney, from Letterkenny will be among the 20 students celebrated for their exemplary community volunteer work.

In the lead up to the ceremony on March 22nd, the awards highlight the selfless efforts of the honourees.

Letterkenny student Áine Sweeney has been recognised for her community work for young women, for people with disabilities and children’s health.

Aine Sweeney

The fifth-year student at Loreto Secondary School, is one of 26 students on The Donegal Youth Council. She also volunteers with the Irish Wheelchair Association and in 2017 travelled to Lourdes as a student volunteer carer raising over €1,200.

The time spent volunteering has changed Áine’s life dramatically. One of her most rewarding experiences was travelling with over 1200 people as part of the Irish Pilgrimage Trust trip to Lourdes. During the visit, Áine helped the young students overcome their home sickness and whilst she is unable to return this year due to her commitment to the European Youth Council Exchange, she is continuing to help her friend fundraise.

Nora Friel, Loreto Letterkenny school principal said: “Inspired by Mary Ward, founder of the school, Áine has taken her words “Women in time to come will do much’ and fully embraced them.

“Her leadership and her consistent hard work have contributed hugely to her success as a volunteer and Áine is also aware of what she herself has gained in the process.”

Representing Letterkenny on the Donegal Youth Council, Áine is passionate about issues affecting young women in her local community including sexual health, body image and sports recognition for girls are addressed.

Along with her fellow Youth Councillors, Áine was instrumental in organising the Sports Recognition for Girls Roadshow which saw girls from all secondary schools in the Letterkenny district attending.

She is also part of the HSE Healthy Ireland promotion team and played a role in the ‘Children and Young People’s Services Committee’ in Donegal.

The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards take place on 22nd March at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Students will be presented with €500 and an engraved silver medallion.

This year the top two Junior Honourees will also receive an additional €500 for their chosen charity for the first time. At the event, two of the 20 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.

Read Raphoe honoree Elaine Magee’s story here: 

Exemplary Elaine applauded for bringing something special to her community