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Laois youth club ‘committed to preserving the best interests of younger children’ honoured at Garda Youth Awards

A Laois youth club has has been honoured at the 2024 Laois/Offaly Garda Divisional Youth Awards, held in the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise.

The Senior Youth Club from the Portlaoise Family Resource Centre received a group award, recognising their contribution to the community in Knockmay, Portlaoise.

A Garda Youth Award recognises the outstanding achievement of young people between the ages of 13 and 21, who have undertaken exceptional work in their local communities or who have shown great determination in their own lives.

The Family Resource Centre provide family support, community development, therapeutic services, early years education and child and youth initiatives and programmes.

The Senior Youth Club were nominated by Joan Bolger, Manager of Portlaoise Family Resource Centre. Ms Bolger spoke very highly of the members, saying:

“The Senior Youth Club members, volunteer as leaders with the Junior Club on a weekly basis and are excellent role models for the younger children in the community.

“Families in Knockmay benefit greatly from their younger children being actively engaged in the Junior Club and this would not exist without the help and voluntary efforts of the Senior Youth Club.

“Through their hands on approach, they have developed relationships with these children and their parents and contribute to making their community a great place to live.

“They are committed to preserving the best interests of the younger children in Knockmay and always keep an eye out for the children in the area.

“Their unwavering support allows the Portlaoise Family Resource Centre and Residents Groups to host other local events, such as Cruinniú na nÓg.”

The full list of members in Portlaoise’s Senior Youth, who all hail from Knockmay, are as follows:

  • Cameron Lawless
  • Clodagh Fitzpatrick
  • David Shorthall
  • Eamon Doheny
  • Leah O’Reilly Redmond
  • Leah Shorthall
  • Sara Lawlor
  • Suraya O’Brien
  • Tia O’Brien
  • Whitney O’Brien

“They are selfless with their time and love, giving and caring for others in the community at all times,” Ms Bolger said.

“Last Christmas they focussed their attention on providing invaluable support to the homeless.

“They collaborated with a voluntary homeless service and prepared care packets with essential items for the homeless in Portlaoise.

“They carefully planned this project by identifying and obtaining the items that would be most beneficial to those receiving them.

“They donated some of their own funding to this project which demonstrated their generosity and selfless nature towards the more vulnerable in society at their time of need.

“These young people consistently lead by example. Their active involvement in organising and participating in voluntary work inspires the community and encourages others to do the same.

“Their ethos is to give to others, whether it is time, funding or resources, they do so with a heart and a half.”

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