Pupil Colm has got the right spirit

editorial image

A Portglenone student has been recognised for the motivation, service and impact he has demonstrated for his local community as a 2015 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards top 20 finalist.

Colm Devine, who is a sixth year student at St Louis Grammar School in Ballymena, has been volunteering at the Down’s Syndrome Association of Northern Ireland for almost two years. Colm sees volunteering as a positive way to use his talents to give back to his community by helping those who may not have the same opportunities as him.

Working with the charity on a fortnightly basis for two hours, Colm also attends outings during which he has the responsibility of looking after members of the organisation.

In his time with the Association Colm has participated in a number of activities such as arts and crafts and dancing as well as organising an indoor football event.

Colm also assisted a coach from the Irish Football Association who taught the members skills.

Colm struggled with a speech impediment and as a result suffered from a lack of confidence and a hesitancy to get involved in activities with people he did not know.

However since working with the Down’s Syndrome Association Colm’s confidence has grown significantly.

Colm’s teacher Jacqueline O’Neill describes him as being “a shining example to his peers, with great courage and integrity,” mentioning that he prioritises volunteering over other commitments someone of his age may have.

Twenty post-primary students will be presented with €500 and an engraved silver medallion at the awards ceremony on 12th March in the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa by guest Brent Pope. Two of the 20 students will be named All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year and will receive €1,000 for a charity of their choice, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy for their school and an all-expense paid trip to the United States in May to participate in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards ceremony.