The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
I had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC for five days as a reward for winning the All-Ireland Youth Volunteer of the Year at the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards. It means a lot to me to have been chosen to represent Ireland, along with another winner Niall Gosson from Dublin. As part of this trip we got to share our projects and work with volunteers all over America and seven other countries including Japan, China, Brazil and Poland. Sharing the work I do with Women’s Aid ABCLN is an honour and it gives me the opportunity to meet other volunteers who do similar work to me in their communities.
On one the first evenings in Washington DC, we got to meet all of the international and state honourees during an icebreaker session. This gave us the opportunity to make friends and tell each other a little bit about our projects. We were also split into groups on the second day for a project sharing session where we could share photos and talk in depth about our work.
Some of the places we visited with the other honourees were Arlington National Cemetery, U.S Capitol, National Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial and The White House. We also had a dinner cruise on the Potomac River.
One of my favourite memories of this trip was visiting the elementary schools in DC and reading to the children there. This was an amazing experience as I got to see what schools in America are like compared to our schools here and how their education system is different to ours. The children were also excited to have us in their classroom.
At the ceremony for state honourees, Prudential invited the Alumni to share what they had been getting up to since they received this award. I really enjoyed this as one of the Alumni named Samantha Quist who won in 1999, had worked on a project that involved helping those affected by domestic violence. This touched my heart and I loved having the opportunity to talk to her after the ceremony.
This trip will definitely impact my future as I have made lifelong friends from all over the world that I have been keeping in contact with and will continue to in the future. I have also talked to some state honourees that have inspired me with their projects about becoming an ambassador for their foundation. I have also been asked to help introduce their foundation in Ireland.
I am honoured to have attended this event and meet future leaders as they have each inspired me to get involved even more in my community but also across the world. Thank you Pramerica and Prudential for the opportunity of a lifetime.Daniella Timperley Year 13