THREE young people from Laois have won Gaisce Gold Awards for exceptional voluntary work in the community.
Kathy Seale from Mountrath, Miriam Keegan from Emo and Odhran Whelehan from Portarlington were presented with their awards by President Michael D. Higgins, at a ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin last week. The award is the nation’s highest recognition of a young person’s initiative, achievement and voluntary contribution to society.
Kathy’s Gaisce Award Partner was the National Learning Network, where she learned pyrography, basketball and soccer as well as volunteering with Oxfam and embarking on an 80k adventure journey. Her Gaisce Gold Online Residential Project was themed around Global Citizenship.
Miriam Keegans’s Gaisce Partner was the Laois Volunteer Centre, where she learned sewing, weightlifting and gym activities and volunteered for Laois Water Safety. Her 80k adventure challenge brought her from Keem Beach to Achill Sound.
Odhran’s partner was NUI Galway, where he is a student and set about learning the Irish language to achieve his award. He also learned gym work, volunteered with the Best Buddies charity, completed a trek from Killarney to Magillicuddy Reeks and did a Gaisce Gold Online Residential Project themed around Global Citizenship.
Odhran said: “I had the opportunity to meet so many incredible young people committed to the values of inclusivity and service to others. Personally, it also helped give me a sense of direction during the various lockdowns. An absolute must for every young person!”
The Laois trio was among 79 young people from across Ireland presented with the top award.