Winners of the Dublin Lord Mayor Youth Awards 2021 Announced
Published on 29th April 2021
- Over 120 nominations received from teachers, community groups and parents acknowledging the kindness and resilience of young people during Covid19
- The 10 award winners hail from; Ballyfermot, Tallaght, Whitehall, Clontarf, Swords, Chapelizod, Clarehall and Ballybough.
- Six-year-old Adam King receives special achievement award for his unwavering commitment to spreading joy through his “A Hug for You” initiative.
- Mental health advocate and podcaster Niall Breslin shares message of support and advice to young people
29th April 2021: Dublin’s most inspirational young people have been recognised at the Lord Mayor Youth Awards today. The virtual event, hosted by Lord Mayor, Hazel Chu celebrated Dublin’s young citizens who have a made a difference to their families, schools or communities during Covid-19.
The 10 winners were announced during two separate Youth Award Webinars today. Five awards were presented to children in the Primary School age group (ages 5 to 12 years of age), and five awards were presented to young adults from the Secondary School age group (13 to 18 years of age). The webinars also provided a platform for the children to share their inspiring stories, and learnings with one another.
“This special event is an opportunity for Dublin City Council to acknowledge and celebrate our extraordinary young people who have contributed so much to our communities during this exceptionally challenging time,” said Dublin’s Lord Mayor Hazel Chu in her opening address.
It has been heart-warming to see so many young people putting others before themselves. The calibre of the nominations was so high, all of which were so deserving, and I hope that this experience will inspire them and others to continue to spread love and positivity as they move forward in their lives,” she added.
The award recipients included a nine year old boy from Clontarf who raised more than €3,600 for the homeless after cycling nearly 260 km over 12 hours; and a 10 year old budding journalist from Chapelizod who produced and delivered a weekly newsletter for her neighbours and friends called ‘The Weekly Chapelizod Wonders’.
Adam King, who raised over €250,000 for Temple Street Children’s Hospital and Cork University Hospital through his "A Hug for You" initiative, received a special achievement award. Accepting the award, the six year old had this advice on how to spread joy:
“In your home you can give everyone a hug and tell them that you love them. And then outside your house, you can give the other people a virtual hug and then you can tell them to use their manners and to be nice and to tell other people that they love them,” he said. Asked what he plans on doing next, Adam said “When coronavirus is over, I’m going on holidays to Killarney, Center Parcs and Northern Ireland!”
Mental health advocate and podcaster Niall Breslin spoke at the Lord Mayor Youth Awards for Secondary School teenagers. He had this advice for young people:
“This has been such a challenging year. It is our generation’s World War Two. But as tough as it’s been – it’s lived experience. Lived experience is a very special type of resilience. You might not realise it, but you have gained an inordinate level of internal resilience during this past year. We have all these self-help books, apps and memes. They don’t mean a lot. When you live it – when you go through something, it’s a very special type of resilience.”
Prizes for the winners of the Lord Mayor Youth Awards include:
- A sculpture designed by Stephanie Hess
- A scroll from The Lord Mayor
- The class of the winning child receiving a Lord Mayor’s Scroll
- €100 One4All voucher
All award nominees will receive a Lord Mayor’s scroll and a €20 One4All voucher.
The Lord Mayor Youth Awards for primary school children is taking place tomorrow morning, from 10am – 10:45am. Click here to register to attend.
The Lord Mayor Youth Awards for secondary school children is taking place tomorrow afternoon, from 2pm – 3pm. Click here to register to attend.
Notes to Editor
Lord Mayor Youth Award 2021 Primary School winners:
Patrick O'Neill, aged 8
Patrick O'Neill from Whitehall has shown great courage and resilience while dealing with adversity in his young life. He received treatment for leukaemia for 3 years from 2016-2019. In 2019, as the family were moving location, he moved schools and joined Rang 1 in Scoil Mobhí, Glasnevin. It is not easy to change and adjust to a new school at such a young age but from the outset he settled in really well to his new class and with his sunny personality he quickly made new friends.
Just when all was going so well, Covid arrived and restrictions meant the children had to be home schooled. But he engaged wholeheartedly with online work. Patrick is a keen sportsman, but again due to current restrictions, training for hurling and football etc was and is on hold, however undeterred and where possible weather permitting, he cycles to and from school every day to keep fit. He is always pleasant and polite and ready with a smile every day and he is a pleasure to be around. Scoil Mobhí are beyond proud of him.
Thea O’Donoghue, aged 10
Thea O’Donoghue, aged 10, brought so much joy to all of her neighbours in Chapelizod by producing a weekly newsletter called 'The Weekly Chapelizod Wonders'. A budding journalist, Thea provided content, wrote her own articles, designed and illustrated a fantastic compilation of news, fun facts about the local area and history, puzzles and more. Not only that, Thea printed and stapled each copy and hand delivered each weekly edition to her neighbours and friends.
Her sense of inclusion and editorial vision was such that she always ensured that all ages could send her content for each week's newsletters and it has been so lovely to see so many young people design covers, create crosswords, provide riddles, share their own news and more! Thea has an amazing sense of community and her entrepreneurial spirit brought light, levity and happiness to so many over the dark and dreary days.
Mia Savaris, aged 10
Described as enthusiastic, hardworking and friendly, Mia Savaris from Ballybough is an amazing asset to her community being a representative of the Green School Community at her school as well as supporting and being involved in the St. Patrick’s Festival for over 8 years. Mia dedicates her time to helping others. Every Saturday, she acts as a Volunteer at the Ballybough Pride of Place. She has also engaged in local community clean ups alongside her peers.
James Cunningham, aged 9
James Cunningham from Clontarf undertook the challenge of cycling the equivalent of six marathons to raise funds for homeless families during the pandemic. The 9-year old raised over €3,600 for the Peter McVerry Trust after cycling nearly 260 km over 12 hours. A fan of cycling his whole life and an active member of Orwell Wheelers, James decided he would cycle 200km over two days using his dad’s turbo trainer in the kitchen and he set up a Justgiving page. He linked the bike up through the Strava app so people could track his progress and received hundreds of messages of support from friends, family and neighbours. One of the most memorable moments during James' challenge was when he got a personal message on his Just Giving page and a donation from a person (who was previously homeless) who had benefitted directly from the Peter McVerry Trust in being provided a home of their own.
Tara O Moore Garland, aged 12
Tara O Moore Garland from Clarehall has only just turned 12 and is already a mental health champion for children. Like a lot of children, Tara found the repeated lockdowns difficult, and found herself becoming tired of the challenges of having to home school, as well as not being able to see her grandparents and cousins. She began to practice mindfulness techniques and realised these techniques could help so many other young people too.
Tara developed a mindfulness pack called SMILE SACKS to spread some positivity, and she donated the money from this for Temple Street Hospital.
Tara put all her energy and free time into making homemade fidget toys and recycling paper to make notebooks or to write positive messages on for her Smile Sacks. Tara quickly reached her goal of raising €500 for the Mental Health Team at Temple Street Hospital.
Lord Mayor Youth Award 2021 Secondary School winners:
Dave Clarke Ranola
Dave Clarke Ranola from Rathmines has always been an enthusiastic and diligent student. Late last November he faced a life-threatening illness and was in hospital for 3 months.
Throughout his ordeal, he kept up his positive spirit and enthusiasm. He made his Dad contact his school on multiple occasions to try to keep up with his work and see what he had been missing. While he was reassured his health was the main concern and to focus on his recovery. As the school moved to online lessons, and as Dave regained his strength, he joined in his school’s live lessons from his hospital bed.
Dave, second year student, is described as a shining example of resilience and perseverance and has exhibited tremendous character, strength and positivity through a horrendous ordeal.
Grace Ennis Hegerty
Grace is a Transition Year Student in Kingswood Community College, Tallaght. Her Grandad passed away from cancer a couple of years ago. Understanding the difficulties people suffering with cancer go through, such as losing your hair, Grace decided to raise money for the Laura Lynn Foundation. Grace danced in the Laura Lynn Hospice a couple of years ago with her dance school and saw the great work that is done by the charity. Grace's hair grew very long during lockdown so she thought it would be worthwhile to donate her hair to a good cause. She cut 17 inches off her hair and donated the hair to the Rapunzel Foundation. She also started a Go Fund Me for the Laura- Lynn Foundation and has raised nearly €2000 so far.
Jake Branagan, aged 12
Jake Branagan has always been a pillar of strength for his mom – firstly when she was undergoing treatment for cancer, and then more recently when she contracted COVID19 in March last year, while working on the frontline in St James Hospital.
At Christmas time, he asked that his gift could be donations to the homeless shelters. Something he would do again with his birthday and confirmation money.
He has been very good to his elderly neighbours, chatting with them and doing their shopping for them. Described as a pillar of hope and strength, he doesn’t even realise the good he is doing for so many people.
While the whole country applauded our frontline workers over the last year, St Finian's C.C. Swords, applauded one of their own, Lauren Canty.
Lauren is a 5th year student and volunteers with the Order of Malta in Swords.
During the pandemic Lauren served with the organisation and proved a lifeline to the most vulnerable in the community who were afraid to leave their home.
Lauren played an integral role in serving the elderly, disabled and infirm people in her community helping the organisation to deliver groceries and medication to those in need. She continued to do this while also caring for some of her own family members who were sick or high risk.
Lauren also continued with her schoolwork and completed Transition Year winning student of the year for 2020. Lauren worked to form the Headstrong Wellbeing committee in our school which promotes positive mental health and also encourages students to break down the stigma around mental illness.
6th Year Leaving Cert Student Shakira Donohue from Ballyfermot is described as having shown exceptional motivation, compassion, resilience and leadership skills during COVID 19. She is a senior leader of the wellbeing team in our school, St Dominic’s College.
She provides leadership and peer support to younger students in her school community. She promotes positive mental health and wellbeing activities and excelled at running upbeat initiatives during the lockdown restrictions such as coordinating a thirty day wellbeing challenge, where members of her school and local community were invited virtually to join the holistic daily activities. She plays upbeat music at lunchtime through a speaker to create an atmosphere and improve wellbeing in school.
She also coordinated the donation and collection of items from staff and students in school at Christmas time for care packs for homeless people. Herself and the younger wellbeing team members then put together the care packs wrapped them up and included a personal Christmas card for each homeless person receiving a care pack. Reminding them that they are valued, cared about and important- "Everybody is a somebody". Shakira liaised with a local homeless outreach team and arranged collection of the care packs in order for them to distribute to the homeless people that the group support.
Each Friday afternoon in school Shakira reads wellbeing tips and a positive quote over the intercom and finishes the school day by playing music over the intercom. When teaching went online due to covid 19 Shakira adapted this to recording a video of tips and quotes which was then uploaded to our school Facebook page. She coordinated our school community doing the Jerusalama dance challenge in November and most recently has coordinated a 35-day outdoor walking challenge which was very successful in our school community. Improving wellbeing, encouraging others, promoting healthy lifestyle habits and promoting positive mental health especially during this most difficult time of covid 19.