Pramerica Systems Ireland recognizes Ireland's top youth volunteers
Molly Gilmartin and Bonnie Shortall share a love of helping others that has inspired them to make a difference. And what a difference these two students from Belfast and Dublin, respectively, have made. In recognition of their outstanding volunteer service, Pramerica Systems Ireland recently honored them as “All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year" at the sixth annual Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards gala dinner. Eighteen other students were also recognized for their volunteer work during the ceremony.
Bonnie Shortall (l) and Molly Gilmartin received their awards from Nobel Laureate and chairman of the judging panel, John Hume.
"These young ambassadors inspire hope and optimism for the future and do so eagerly and energetically,” said John Lonergan, former governor of Mountjoy Prison, who was the keynote speaker at the dinner, held earlier this month in Derry.
Gilmartin, who has volunteered with Action Cancer for the past six years, was recognized for organizing a concert composed of 11 school choirs from across Northern Ireland. It raised more than 12,000 pounds (about $19,000) and is now an annual Action Cancer event. "I love to make a difference in my local community," said Gilmartin. "As a volunteer you never look for credit, but being recognized feels good. This award helps highlight the efforts of everyone involved at Action Cancer and at my school.”
"Volunteering will always be a part of my life,” said Shortall. “I love how I feel when I help people.” She was honored for her work with sick babies in an orphanage in Tanzania. She worked 13-hour days feeding, bathing and playing with the children. When she returned to Ireland, she raised 1,600 euros (about $2,100) for the orphanage by holding an Easter raffle and through other activities.
Gilmartin and Shortall will travel to the United States next month to attend the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in Washington, D.C. They will be joined by Spirit of Community Award winners from the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and India.
Pramerica Systems Ireland, a subsidiary of Prudential Financial, sponsors the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards program in partnership with the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland.