Inspired by her younger brother, this Donegal student spends her summers helping at a local childrens' support group.

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.

Elaine Magee is a fourth-year student at The Royal and Prior School who is greatly admired by parents and children in her community. Elaine was motivated to volunteer with the ‘Something Special’ group which is based in Raphoe when her younger brother was diagnosed with autism.

Over the past number of years Elaine gave her time throughout July and August to assist the parents in the group to take the children on outings and trips.

Many of the children with autism or ADHD needed one to one attention and Elaine worked with the children to make sure all their needs were met.

Some of the children didn’t like interacting with people and Elaine was mindful to deal with these children in a certain manner so that they weren’t distressed in any way.

Ann Marie Gibson from the ‘Something Special’ group indicated that on days out, children loved seeing Elaine. “Elaine has a great interest in children, especially those with additional needs and gets involved whenever she sees an opportunity to help out. On days out with our summer programmes, Elaine stepped in and assisted some of the mothers that were stressed”, she commented.

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 Letterkenny student Aine Sweeney’s story here: 

Áine’s caring ways and leadership earn her a volunteerism award