Emma Lacey a 17year old student at Loreto Secondary School, Clonmel has been awarded a prestigious award for outstanding volunteer work.
The Leaving Cert student has been named as one of the winners in the seventh annual Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards.
Emma, Beechwood Close, Clonmel, volunteered with the local Special Olympics Club and spent her summers playing traditional music to raise funds for Trócaire, The Carers Association, Hospice, Meals on Wheels, swimming club, G.A.A clubs and community groups.
Emma also raised €1,700 to cover the cost of a trip to Nairobi to work with the Outreach to Africa HUG group. While in Nairobi, she spent two weeks at Shalom Academy School, Laini Saba Primary School and St. Paul’s Care Home, an orphanage for abandoned children. Emma also taught English, arts, crafts, music, sports, dancing, and helped clean and paint the school during her trip.
The poverty she witnessed inspired Emma to help make a difference, despite experiencing great challenges such as a lack of running water, an erratic electricity supply and arid climates.
“Emma is a bubbly, empathetic young girl who approaches every day with enthusiasm and always put the needs of others first. She embodies the very spirit of volunteerism,” says Michelle McCartan, Outreach to Africa Deputy Leader.
“We are very proud of Emma’s achievements but more importantly of the selfless nature of the work she has undertaken.She is a great ambassador for Loreto Secondary School,Clonmel but particularly of the Loreto ethos and we are delighted to be represented by such an altrustic young person,” said Anne McGrath Principal,Loreto Secondary School,Clonmel.
Emma,one of twenty award winners, will receive a Certificate of Achievement from Pramerica Systems Ireland Limited later this month. On the 27th of March, Emma and 19 other finalists will be honoured at a gala awards dinner in the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny. They will also receive €500 and an engraved silver medallion. In addition, two of the finalists will be named All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year at the awards dinner and will receive €1,000 for a charity of their choice, a gold medallion and an all-expense paid trip to the United States in May to participate in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Ceremony.
Emma, continues to support and promote the work of HUG in Africa and also plans to join the Alive Volunteer scheme in NUI, Galway when she goes to college.
“It was an honour to be named as an award winner. The Loreto encourages awareness for others from Ist year on and I started fund raising for FHIST. During Transition Year, I loved doing activities with the Special Olympics group in town which motivated me to do more,” said Emma who was one of a group of fifteen secondary school students from the Loreto and Presentation secondary schools to travel to Kenya last summer.
Emma is a member of the Cara team in the Loreto, a g roup that mentors first years, and they are currently raising funds for St.Vincent de Paul.
For the last eight years Emma has played with traditional group Ceol Feasa in Clonmel to raise funds for charities, sporting and community groups in Clonmel and Cahir.
“There are a lot of voluntary groups out there that do fantastic work in the community and they need our support,” said Emma.
Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards showcases the outstanding acts of volunteerism demonstrated by second-level students across Ireland. It is the only programme of its kind in Ireland and so highlights the positive impact and influence young people have on society and the people around them.
Each year, 20 finalists are chosen from hundreds of applications nationwide. Pramerica Systems Ireland Limited developed the programme, in partnership with the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI).
“These young volunteers are not only a credit to their schools, their families and their communities, they are a credit to themselves,” said Caroline Faulkner, senior managing director & CIO, Pramerica Systems Ireland Limited. “We are delighted to acknowledge their hard work and commitment - which takes place under the radar - and their efforts to improve the lives of others.”she said.
“The stories of these incredible acts of volunteerism remind us of the power of our youth today. Their ability to see the world and their place in it is remarkable,” said Kay O’Brien, President, NAPD. “We are delighted to work in association with the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards, a platform to honour Ireland’s shining lights, our students, our future ambassadors,”she said.
The 20 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards finalists were selected from second-level students nominated by their school principals last November. The applicants were judged on their motivation, service, impact, sustainability, commitment and personal challenges.
The All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year will be selected by a committee chaired by Nobel Laureate John Hume