Lauren announced a Pramerica Top 20 Finalist for the 2020 Spirit of Community Awards


Lauren Gaynor, from Co. Tyrone 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 Sixth-Year student at Loreto Grammar School, Lauren has been involved in volunteering from a young age and has organised and participated in fundraising activities regularly such as, bag packing, baking and serving at coffee mornings.  She was chosen by her school to participate in an exchange programme and subsequently volunteered in a Washington Soup Kitchen. The Soup Kitchen was established to help feed and provide shelter for the homeless people in the city.

Lauren also had the opportunity to visit Cambodia on a four week expedition and took part in numerous projects such as designing concrete cylinders for the local drainage system, helping to  build a damn which allows the locals to transport food over the river and planting banana trees for the poorest family in the local village. Lauren also donated some of her own money to buy the local people she was helping with food and livestock which was instrumental in creating an income for families.

Both trips were an eye opening and life changing experience for Lauren.  Lauren used these events not only to fundraise but to raise awareness of the plight of those in need.

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 plus many more, the 20 finalists will gather for this year’s awards which will take place at Titanic, Belfast on Tuesday 31st March. 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, D.C.

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, this year’s awards received a remarkable 250 applications from across Ireland.

Naomi Hegarty, vice president, Risk Management, Pramerica Systems Ireland is overwhelmed with the selfless work being carried out by young people across Ireland.

“Year upon year I continue to be humbled by the incredible volunteer work carried out by young people in towns and villages across Ireland. The 20 finalists selected as part of this year’s awards programme are proudly taking a stand for what they believe in and actively empowering others to do the same. Our awards programme celebrates these passionate and dedicated young people and aims to give them the recognition and voice they truly deserve.

 “At Pramerica we are committed to supporting youth volunteers and understand that even the smallest of contributions can make a big difference to those who are in need and vulnerable. In sacrificing their spare time to give back to their community, these young people are showing that they genuinely care, and we want to make sure that their selfless good deeds don’t go unnoticed. We cannot wait to welcome all of the chosen finalists to the awards ceremony in Titanic, Belfast on 31st March of this year.

The 20 Pramerica Spirit of Community finalists are:

  • Lidia Ballocchi, Sixth Year, Assumption Grammar School, Co. Down
  • Sasha Barrett-Ferris, Sixth Year, Sullivan Upper School, Co. Down
  • Gavin Bennett, Third Year, Ard Scoil Chiarain Naofa, Co. Offaly
  • Jemma Campbell Sixth Year, Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Co. Antrim
  • Rebecca Colley, Sixth Year, Castleknock Community College, Co. Dublin
  • Jessica Collins, Fourth Year, Skibbereen Community School, Co. Cork
  • Keira Culleton, Third year, Loreto College, Co. Derry
  • Jamie Duffy, Sixth Year, Beech Hill College, Co. Monaghan
  • Lauren Gaynor, Sixth Year, Loreto Grammar School, Co. Tyrone
  • Charlotte Gallagher, First Year, Our Lady’s School, Co. Dublin
  • Liadh Hanley, Sixth Year, St. Angela’s College, Co. Cork
  • Rebecca Irvine, Sixth Year, Carrickfergus Grammar School, Co. Antrim
  • Grainne McGlynn, Fourth Year, Rosses Community School, Co. Donegal
  • Julie Reddan, Sixth Year, Borrisokane Community College, Co. Tipperary
  • Jake Redmond, Sixth Year, Larkin Community, Co. Dublin
  • Aurora Riddiough, Fifth year, Ballycastle High School, Co. Antrim
  • Sophia Shally, Third Year, St Louis Community School, Co. Mayo
  • Aaron Smith, Sixth Year, St Louise’s Comprehensive College, Co. Antrim
  • Emma Smyth, Sixth Year, St Louis Grammar School, Co. Antrim
  • Teagan Stanley, Fifth Year, Newtown School, Co. Waterford

For further information, contact Caroline Murphy or Susan Jackson at AIKEN on 02890663000 or / or Harold Banks, Pramerica, 973-216-4833 (U.S.) or