Inspirational young people from all over Ireland will receive a Gaisce Gold Award from President Michael D. Higgins for their outstanding community work and significant personal achievements at an awards ceremony in Dublin Castle on Tuesday 11th February 2014.
Gaisce – the President’s Award – is a programme that aims to foster and develop young people’s potential. It is a guided and supported framework is provided for young people to explore their natural skills and gain confidence in their abilities, while contributing to their community.
This year, Awardees will be presented to young people who excelled and achieved their goals. This year’s Gold Award recipients include young people who spent time volunteering with charity organisations, working with the poor, the elderly, people with disabilities, and getting involved in youth groups and clubs. Gaisce Award recipients also work with community groups, sporting organizations and charity shops.
One recipient includes Siobhan Buckley from Co. Cork. Siobhan, a student at NUI Maynooth, has already achieved her Bronze and Silver Gaisce Awards. Siobhan spent 52 weeks in Kanturk Community Hospital, where she provided entertainment for the elderly by playing music, painting pictures and helping patients design Christmas Cards and letters to their families. Along with this, Siobhan took up Harp Lessons and participated in Fleadh Ceoil, An Chuirt Chruitireachta and the Irish Harp Festival; along with completing a hike in Camino De Santiago.
John Concannon, Chairman of the Gaisce Awards, states: “The Gaisce vision for Ireland is a country where young people dream big and fulfil their potential. This year, over 20,000 young people in Ireland applied. Their contribution and active participation was facilitated through the Gaisce Award. It is inspiring to see so many young people receive their Gold Awards, acknowledging the exceptional level of commitment to personal development and community involvement of the awardees. The success of Gaisce is enabled by the enormous effort of thousands of volunteer President Award Leaders (PALs) across the island of Ireland, whom I would like to thank for the leadership and support they give to the Award participants.”
On average, Gaisce participants contribute over 100,000 voluntary hours in their local communities each year. A total of six million voluntary hours have been completed since the Gaisce Award programme was established in 1985.