Áine Sweeney, from Letterkenny, a fifth-year student at Loreto Secondary School, is one of 26 students on The Donegal Youth Council. She also volunteers with the Irish Wheelchair Association and in 2017 travelled to Lourdes as a student volunteer carer raising over €1,200.

Representing Letterkenny on the Donegal Youth Council, Áine is passionate about issues affecting young women in her local community including sexual health, body image and sports recognition for girls are addressed. Along with her fellow Youth Councillors, Áine was instrumental in organising the Sports Recognition for Girls Roadshow which saw girls from all secondary schools in the Letterkenny district attending. She is also part of the HSE Healthy Ireland promotion team and played a role in the ‘Children and Young People’s Services Committee’ in Donegal.

The time spent volunteering has changed Áine’s life dramatically. One of her most rewarding experiences was travelling with over 1200 people as part of the Irish Pilgrimage Trust trip to Lourdes. During the visit, Áine helped the young students overcome their home sickness and whilst she is unable to return this year due to her commitment to the European Youth Council Exchange, she is continuing to help her friend fundraise.

“Inspired by Mary Ward, founder of the school, Áine has taken her words “Women in time to come will do much’ and fully embraced them,” said Nora Friel, school principal. “Her leadership and her consistent hard work have contributed hugely to her success as a volunteer and Áine is also aware of what she herself has gained in the process.”

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