Prosper awards single out students making a real difference in Fingal

by Sylvia Pownall

Students in Fingal have been recognised for their commitment to equality and inclusion through the Prosper Fingal Making a Difference Awards.

The awards were set up by Prosper Fingal last year as part of the organisation’s fortieth anniversary celebrations.

Prosper Fingal, which provides services and supports to 300 adults with an intellectual disability, also has student ambassadors in six Fingal schools who inform peers about its work.

At Ardgillan College, Balbriggan, the Prosper Fingal Making a Difference Award winners were Keelin Tapley, Emily Cathcart, Belbin Benny and Stefan Simonovic.

They set up an initiative named Headstrong to help combat stigma surrounding mental health.

They created their own Instagram page and worked to promote the message of positive mental health openness for all.

The joint winners at Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan were Tegra Kiaku Alphonsine and Clodagh Finnegan.

Both were voted by their peers for traits such as kindness and friendliness and for how they supported other students within the school community.

At St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush, the Making a Difference Award recipient was David Kelly, who was described as a student who makes a difference in many ways.

David has also been active in the school’s St Vincent de Paul Christmas Hampers initiative.

“Devoting himself to hours upon hours of volunteer work, he brought something special and unique to everything he undertook,” according to the school.

The winning group at Fingal Community College in Swords developed a hugely successful ‘Silver Surfers’ tech course in their school.

The programme, which ran in conjunction with Age Action Ireland, involved 20 Transition Year students.

Over the course of 15 weeks, they welcomed older citizens to the school each Friday and taught them how to use PCs, iPads, smartphones and all things IT-related.

The award winner at Skerries Community College was Eanna Keogan “due to his kindness, helpfulness and concern for his fellow students”.

According to the school, Eanna “is an inspirational student who strives to ensure all are included in our school community”.

Portmarnock Community School is also participating in the Making a Difference Awards and will hold its awards ceremony later in the year.

Pat Reen, chief executive of the Prosper Group, said: “It is a tremendous initiative, in that its value and importance grows each year. The Prosper Fingal Making a Difference Awards celebrate the generosity and spirit of young people.

“Those values align with the Prosper organisation and its work with people with disabilities. Today we have six secondary schools in the Fingal region and six in Meath taking part in this worthy initiative.”

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