Sophia Shally, from St Louis Community School, has been recognised as one of 20 exceptional young people from across Ireland, who have been chosen as some of the country’s most outstanding youth volunteers, working to make a positive impact on their local communities.
A third-year student at St Louis Community School, Sophia was left with life-changing burns across her face, hands and scalp, following an accident at home when she was seven months old. Despite the painful treatment, which is ongoing, tedious travel and long periods of time away from her friends and family, Sophia finds the strength to stay positive.
A gifted musician, Sophia uses her talents to give back to the community and recently created a CD with her mother, which helped raise €10,000 for the Kevin Bell Repatriation trust. The trust has repatriated 800 bodies to date, including Sophia’s godfather, Sean Corrigan, who died tragically in Boston following an accident clearing snow from a roof. Sophia also sells calendars every year in aid of the Dogs for the Disabled and Sophia and her mother are part of the Ministry that helps to feed the homeless in Boston Common every week.
The top 20 local students were revealed as Pramerica announced its top 20 finalists for the 2020 Spirit of Community Awards, the only all-Ireland youth initiative of its kind that rewards post-primary students for their exemplary acts of volunteerism.
Passionate about a range of topics including homelessness, mental health, disabled rights, climate change, animal cruelty and many more, the 20 finalists will gather for this year’s awards which will take place at Titanic, Belfast on Tuesday, March 31. Each finalist will receive an impressive €500 to donate to their preferred charity and are in the running to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip across the globe to Washington, DC.
The programme, which is run in partnership with the National Association of Principals & Deputy Principals (NAPD ) and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI ), is one of Ireland’s largest youth recognition programmes and this year’s awards received a remarkable 250 applications from across Ireland.