Award-Winning Youth Volunteers from Ireland Honored in Washington, D.C. by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

30 April 2018

Rush, County Dublin and Randalstown students were named top youth volunteers by Ireland's Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards in March

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two of Ireland's top youth volunteers of the year – Niall Gosson, 18, of Rush, County Dublin and Daniella Timperley, 17, of Randalstown – were honored last night at a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History during the 23rd annual presentation of the U.S. Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Niall and Daniella were presented with special commemorative trophies by Prudential Financial CEO John Strangfeld during the evening event, which is held each spring to present awards to America’s top two youth volunteers from each state. The honorees were also personally congratulated for their outstanding volunteer service by Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn.

Niall and Daniella were named top youth volunteers by Ireland's Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards program in March. They received awards including an all-expense-paid trip to this week’s special recognition events in Washington, D.C.

Niall, a sixth-year student at St. Joseph’s Secondary School, volunteers with Rush Tourism, a voluntary group dedicated to putting Rush back on the map as a tourist destination. He has also volunteered with the Fingal County Council to work toward the development of a coastal heritage trail, and with a Kenure House Demesne heritage train in Rush.

Throughout his transition year, Niall dedicated his time to raising funds to start the heritage trail by selling commemorative mugs. After meetings with the council heritage boards, maps were placed around town to highlight the routes. Niall also coordinated an exhibition in the local library celebrating 700 years of the Kenure House historic mansion and estate, and gave talks as part of Heritage Week in Ardgillan Castle, where he volunteers at events throughout the year. In addition to working on the tourism heritage project, Niall also helps at his local Park Run, and serves as a rover leader with his local Scouts group.

Daniella, a sixth-year student at St. Louis Grammar School, has been an active volunteer since she was very young with Women’s Aid, an organization that supports women and children affected by domestic violence. In 2015, she represented Women’s Aid on the BBC Children in Need Youth Panel, helping to coordinate fundraising efforts and voicing the needs of those helped by Women’s Aid. Daniella has also volunteered in care homes and with the elderly, helped at the homework club in a Ballymena centre with the younger children, and served at the Antrim summer scheme where she completed accreditations in mental health, domestic violence, understanding risks and self-esteem.

Daniella has raised money to buy supplies and organize activities for children in Romania through the Centre of Hope – God’s Love in Action. She helped serve food and distributed medication, clothes, toys and other supplies. With the charity Fixers, Daniella created films to tackle topics such as physical violence, coercive control, and volunteering, with one featuring on UTV Live.

“These honorees exemplify something we’ve known for a long time – that young volunteers have the power to bring meaningful change to their communities,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “These students have shown leadership and determination well beyond their years, and it’s a privilege to celebrate their service.”

Also attending the Sunday event were top honorees from Prudential Spirit of Community Awards programs in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India, China, Brazil and Poland. During their trip to Washington, D.C., Niall and Daniella also joined the other international honorees and the American honorees to share volunteering experiences and perspectives, and toured the major sights and landmarks of America’s capital. This morning, they visited a Washington, D.C. elementary school to deliver donated books for their schoolchildren and libraries.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created by Prudential in 1995 to encourage youth volunteerism and to identify and reward young role models. The awards program was introduced in Japan in 1997, in South Korea in 1999, in Taiwan in 2000, in Ireland in 2006, in India in 2010, in China in 2013, in Brazil in 2015 and in Poland in 2017.