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Castlebar student honoured for volunteer services

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PROUD MOMENT Pictured is 2016 Pramerica Spirit of Community Award finalist Helen McFadden, from Castlebar who attends St Louis Community School in Kiltimagh, with Andrea McBride, Vice President, Pramerica Systems Ireland and guest of honour Niall Breslin (Bressie).

In recognition of the exemplary work she carries out in her local community, Helen McFadden from Castlebar has been honoured at the 2016 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards gala awards’ ceremony, held at Lough Eske Castle Hotel and Spa, Donegal.
As a 2016 finalist, Helen received €500 and a silver medallion, presented by multi-platinum selling songwriter, music producer and guest of honour, Niall Breslin (Bressie).
Helen was selected for the honour from amongst hundreds of youth volunteers from across the island of Ireland. She attends St Louis Community School in Kiltimagh and has been an active volunteer for some time. Her voluntary activities stem from a desire to assist others in her school community, the local community, in addition to her interest in helping disadvantaged people. 
She is especially active in promoting mental health in her school and presented to a large audience in Sligo on the issue. Parts of her presentation along with posters with motivational and inspirational quotes, are displayed all around the corridors for students to read. Helen undertakes numerous other activities as well; in addition to being a Prefect in school, she offers piano lessons free of charge to members of the local community and regularly donates to various charities.
“Helen came to our school three years ago and I can safely say there are few people that have made the difference that Helen has made to the lives of vulnerable students,” said Cahil Doherty, school principal. “She is humble and does it from her heart with no ulterior motive other than to make the lives of others better.”

Motivation
The only all-Ireland youth initiative of its kind, the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards programme recognises young people for their motivation, service and impact on their local community across the island of Ireland.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Bressie said, “Congratulations to all of the 20 finalists, who are inspiring individuals. It really is testament to their character to be nominated in the 2016 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards, and I am honoured to be able to acknowledge the dedication and commitment they have shown in giving back to their communities.”
The programme is run in partnership with The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI), with support from Scouting Ireland and Foróige.
“In this special 10th anniversary year, we’re honoured to showcase young people’s commitment to volunteerism and tonight’s 20 finalists are no exception,” said Caroline Faulkner, senior managing director, Pramerica Systems Ireland. “Their stories are truly remarkable especially Helen’s - she has proved to be a wonderful role model and an inspiring individual.”
The two All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year named on the evening were Cían O’Grady from Herbertstown in Co Limerick and Carla McErlean from Kilrea in Co Derry. 
Learn more about the 2016 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards on the Pramerica Spirit of Community Facebook page and Twitter feed @Pramerica_SOC. The full biographies of all finalists are available at www.pramerica.ie/spirit.