TWO Kildare students have been nominated for a top volunteering award.
Eliana Jupe (16), a student at Colaiste Chiarain in Leixlip and Aoife Malone (16), a fifth year student at the Holy Family Secondary School, were both among the 20 winners of the seventh annual Pramerica Spirit of Community Award, based on a scheme by the US company, Prudential Financial.
Around 160 were entered for the competition and Nobel Laureate, John Hume, served on the judging panel.
Along with her Colaiste Chiarain school colleague, Shane McCormack, Eliana is one of the students who took part in their school’s project with a village in Kalome south Zambia.
After travelling there, where her work involved in digging a piggery, teaching and playing games with children, set up a committee at the school.
Her teacher, Mary Gallagher, said: “Eliana showed great empathy with those she met, and her gentle caring nature made a lasting impression. With her determination and creativity, you can rest assured that when Eliana takes on a project, it will be a success.”
Aoife Malone is a facilitator to young people with disabilities at the local fitness clubs, Jumping Jelly Beans and JJ’s.
Her passion to help her brother, Fionan, who has autism, motivated Aoife to get involved.
Ceira Hickey, who attends Jumping Jelly Beans with her daughter, says: “Without young volunteers like Aoife, this activity group for children with disabilities would not exist, and my daughter would have minimal interaction outside school.”
Eliana, daughter Stephen and Cherith, lives in Celbridge and has a twin sister, Christina, wants to study international development at third level.
Shane, son of Eileen and Derek, and a brother of 22 year old teacher, Rachel, taught computer skills in Kalome. “It helped them set up business,” he said.
Both Eliana and Aoife will each receive €500 and an engraved silver medal at a awards dinner in Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny, on 27 March.
Eliana told the Leader she would use the money to fund a trip back to Zambia.
At this dinner, two will be named All Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year and will each get €1,000 for a charity of their choice, a gold medal and an all expenses trip to the US in May for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
At a ceremony in Colaiste Chiarain on 28 February, Colaiste Chiarain principal, Joe Sweeney, and Clive Byrne, of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, congratulated the students on their award.
Pramerica Systems Ireland Ltd is a Letterkenny based IT company.