Youths throughout a number of Limerick communities were praised this week at the third annual Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016.
Limerick Gardaí, in association with Garvey’s Supervalu and Centra, presented the awards at the Woodlands Hotel in Adare, celebrating young people for the positive contributions they have made to their families, schools and communities.
Chief Superintendent David Sheahan commended the Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016 winners, praised the work and effort made by the families of winners and called on recipients to “continue to innovate and make a difference” in their communities.
Limerick City and County Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon attended the Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016 in a show of support, praising the “tireless work to help their communities and helping others.”
Among the winners was Luke Culhane, a second year student at Castletroy college. In February 2016, having been cyber bullied he made a video called Create No Hate to show how it feels to have been cyber bullied and to explain to people that there are many things you can do to stop and prevent it. Thinking that if he could help one person he would achieve something, little did he know that the video would go viral and it now has over 5 million views worldwide. As a result, Luke has appeared on many international TV stations and radio channels and most recently has offered his advice via skype to students in a school in Cape Town, South Africa. By his actions, Luke has shown how to deal with cyber bullies, not to let them dominate your life but to stand up, speak out and challenge them. Speaking to I Love Limerick after he received his award, Luke Culhane said: “I got loads of recognition all over the world, but it is especially nice to receive recognition from my home county Limerick.”
Another recipient included the Express Yourself Mental Health group from Limerick Youth Service, which played a big part in Limerick’s Mental Health Week. The group is based in the Northside Youthspace in Ballynanty and consists of young people between the ages of 17 and 19. Led by Siobhan Wilmott, they are raising awareness about youth mental health and promoting positive mental health attitudes among young people. The group has made presentations at an EU summit in Amsterdam and have engaged in debates with local politicians to ensure that this very important subject is raised at the highest levels in the Dail. They have organised events for young people during mental health week and were successful in securing funding for Limerick Youth Service to provide staff for a mental health team. They continue to volunteer their time to many community events around mental health and are making a valuable contribution highlighting awareness and educating people on how to deal with it in a positive manner.
Among the other recipients of the Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016 were the Crescent Comprehensive TY Students 2016, Sarah Duggan, Coláiste Chiárain Ambassadors of Strength in Adversity Group, Áine O’Connor, Luke, Phillip and Jake Kinsella, Cian O’Grady and Lee Quinn.
Crescent Comprehensive TY Students
Hugh Conlon, Adam Earlie, Kevin Le Gear, James Mullins and Luke Reilly completed transition year in May of this year. During that time, they had done some volunteering work in Milford Hospice and St. Camillus Hospital. However, during the summer, on their own initiative, they decided to embark on an epic journey by cycling all the way from Malin Head to Mizen Head to raise funds for Milford Hospice. They trained diligently every week, cycling from Limerick to Nenagh and back to prepare themselves for the 800km trip. It took the boys eleven days to complete the trip from Donegal to Cork raising over €1,700 for Milford Hospice. Rather than taking it easy during the summer these young men took on and succeeded in a challenge that resulted in a major contribution to a charity that hugely supports the local community.
Sarah from Mungret, Co. Limerick is a student in Colaiste Mhuire in Askeaton. For the past five year’s she has been a central figure in the raising of funds for her local GAA club, Mungret St Pauls. Every week without fail she has sold lottery tickets in her area and to date has individually raised over €12,000 which helps to support the juvenile section of the club. When not involved with her club, she has found the time to volunteer in a local charity shop in Limerick, raised funds for MS and also helped out the Limerick Panto Society. A recipient of a Bronze Gaisce award, whenever Sarah is involved in a task she will always be enthusiastic, energetic and committed.
Coláiste Chiárain Ambassadors of Strength in Adversity Group
On arriving in Ireland, Hassatou Diallo from Guinea, Merveille Mangidi Ntoya and Moise Kahu-su from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Isaac Wairimu from Kenya, were each faced with common challenges such as learning a new language and adapting and integrating into a new culture. These student ambassadors despite personal sacrifices continue to overcome adversity through their resilience, strength of character, positivity and determination. Showing a true dedication to their academic attainment they also excel in the fields of sport, music and the arts. Through education they aim to realize their full potential and embrace the many opportunities which await them in their very bright futures. They are all ambassadors of ‘Strength in Adversity’. Each of these students, fully reflect the spirit, ethos and vision that is encapsulated in the Coláiste Chiaráin school motto, “Ad agusta per angusta” (Achievement through effort).
Áine from Lisnagry, Co. Limerick is a student in Castletroy College. This year Áine began a fundraising campaign in aid of the Irish Cancer Society, a cause very dear to Áines heart. As part of this campaign she raised €400 in sponsorship and cut off 10 inches of her hair so that wigs could be made for people suffering from cancer. She is currently an active member of the St John’s 3/14 Scouts in Limerick, holding numerous badges in many different disciplines and is a leader with the cubs and beavers. A young person with a great sense of community spirit and willingness to help others, Áine is also in the process of completeing a short film called ‘Don’t Tell Mom’ which she hopes to enter in next year’s Fresh Film Festival.
Luke, Phillip and Jake Kinsella
In December 2015, the Springfield, Clonlara area of County Clare was devastated by flooding. The Kinsella’s home was amoung the houses in danger. As Mike Kinsella, had passed away in 202 it fell to his sons Luke, Phillip and Jake to help their mother Bridget engage in a course of action to save their home. For the next eight weeks, the boys worked day and night manning pumps and monitoring sandbags to ensure that the water did not break through. They faced many obstacles during the ordeal, taking it in turns to stay up all night manning their station. Despite Phillip suffering an asthma attack which resulted in a visit to the hospital, he was back helping the family the following day. Eventually in late January 16, the flooding subsided without breaking through the barriers. The boys then had to return to their studies they all obtained excellent results. The family wish to acknowledge the support of Mike’s parents, Mike and Mona and the help of their neighbours and friends, members of the civil defence, army and fire brigade, Clare County Council and the Gardai during their ordeal. Luke, Phillip and Jake Kinsella faced many challenges during that time. They overcame them with a display of immense dedication, strength and perseverance and their actions are an inspiration to everyone.
Cian is from Herbertstown in Co. Limerick and is currently a student in Waterford IT. His commitment to community work knows no bounds. He has volunteered with St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen in Limerick City, raised funds for Mid West Simon community, helps in the local nursing home and assists his local soccer club raising funds and coaching the younger players. Whenever an event takes place in his community Cian is involved. He has organised family fun days in Herbertstown and is a volunteer waiter at the local monthly parochial dinners for the elderly. Cian has already been recognised for his community work as he was the Irish winner of the Pramerica Spirit of Community Award in March 2016.
Lee from Moyross, Limerick City is a man on a mission. Having faced several personal challenges in his earlier years, Lee accepted support from a number of key agencies in the area. Two years ago, having finished his education he applied for the Trainee Jockey programme with RACE (Racing Academy and Centre of Education) in Kildare but was not successful. Such was his determination to get a place on this world renowned programme that Lee put in a year of effort working on his fitness, personal development and gaining work experience in Jim Bolger’s yard and in Leopardstown Racecourse. He reapplied for the course in 2016 and was successful in securing a place and is now three months into this very challenging but rewarding programme. He is a young man that is clear about his goals and has shown that hard work, perseverance and determination can bring its rewards.
Read more about the Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016 here.
To read more about previous years of the Garda Divisional Youth Awards from I love Limerick click here.
Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016. Photos: Cian Reinhardt / ilovelimerick