Volunteer Achievement Awards

Youth Work Ireland's Volunteer Achievement Awards celebrates the contribution individuals make to local youth services. At local and national level volunteers have helped shape youth work policy and practice. Supported by teams of locally based staff they are among the key deliverers of services to young people.  Much of this work is done “out of the spotlight” and quite often receives little recognition.

The people who are honoured are a group of committed and dedicated individuals who give their free time to benefit local communities and society in general. Through their enthusiasm and dedication, they inspire young people and support them to realise their own potential. This year the National Selection Committee received 25 nominations from 8 Member Youth Services.

Each recipient will receive a specially commissioned pin designed by jewellery designer Garrett Mallon.

This Year's Recipients:

Leading the Way Award Recipient: Kevin Dormer, The Junction Youth & Community Building & HUB over 18’s Café, Clare Youth Service.



Kevin has been a part of the Clare Youth Service since he was 13. In this time, he has participated in many different projects in different capacities and became a volunteer youth leader at the age of 16.  As a summer camp leader, he has learned many different things and the time he has spent with Clare Youth Service as a teenager helped him through some tough times and as a result, he has decided to become a volunteer at the age of 18. Currently, he volunteers on a number of projects; The Hub, an alternative late-night café for young adults, The Junction is a place for young people to go and chill out and participate in different groups like tech space where he helps young people make films and shows them what making films is like. He enjoys passing on the knowledge of making films to a new group of people, Younger Voices: a committee that represents young people throughout Clare and relays their issues at local, regional and national levels. As well as my volunteering commitments, Kevin is a full-time student in Film and TV at Galway Community College, and part-time employee in a local shop in Ennis.

Stepping up Award Recipient: Danielle McKeever, Navan Youth Club, Youth Work Ireland Meath.

Danielle is 19 years old from Navan, Co. Meath. She has three dogs and loves people and animals. She enjoys being around people and giving her time to be with people and being outside and interacting with different individuals. She is in her second year of college studying Event Management. She works in The Solstice Arts Centre in Navan, as an usher. This means she sees a lot of different types of events and shows. She volunteers with two Youth Clubs. The Nite Club and Navan Youth Club. The Nite Club is a youth club for young people with disabilities and their siblings. Navan Youth Club is a youth club that meets on a Wednesday and a Friday. She volunteers mostly on a Wednesday night with the younger age group. She also volunteers on the Friday when she can with the older group. It is great to be able to get the chance to meet and interact such amazing people.

She also works with a charity called Ability Equine Assisted Therapy. This is therapeutic horse-riding for children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities. She is a leader, this means she leads the horses for the lessons. At present she is being trained to become a therapeutic instructor by the instructors within the charity.  She loves being around the stable and seeing how beneficial it is to everyone

Making a Difference Award Recipient: Alexandru Petrovici, Roma Youth Project, FDYS Youth Work Ireland.

Alexandru is a volunteer in FDYS, working mostly with the Roma community. We have a youth lead programme of education and Roma young people are part of these programmes through their voluntary involvement. He enjoys being a volunteer because he feels his purpose as a youth worker is to build young people’s self-esteem and self-confidence and to develop their ability to manage personal and social relationships. For Roma young people the trust in him is the base of their involvement in our activities. He is a young person who dedicates his time to working with Roma young people and their families. He has interests in music, rapping and dancing and some cooking.

Behind the Scenes Award Recipient: Joseph Howlin FDYS Board of Directors, FDYS Youth Work Ireland.

Joseph was educated in Courtnacuddy N.S., C.B.S. Enniscorthy, and WIT Waterford where he got his degree in Multimedia Applications Development. After finishing college, he worked for award-winning web design agency 2Cubed, where he worked for 5 years before taking a career break to go to Toronto, Canada. He has been involved with Youth Clubs since he was in 1st year in C.B.S. He was very happy in his local youth club (Courtnacuddy), and got involved in all types of sports and activities. He then became a junior leader progressing to a senior leader where he enjoyed helping the young people of the club. He was elected a member of the advisory committee of the FDYS which he served as chairman for 3 years and was on the board of directors as treasurer of the FDYS. He was also a member of the board of Youth Work Ireland, representing the youth of the FDYS. His interests are in kickboxing, where he represented Ireland in the World Championships in Portugal, winning a bronze medal.

The Extra Mile Award Recipient: James Kildea, Le Cheile Na Nog, KDYS Kerry

James first became a leader with Le Chéile Na n-Óg youth club over 35 years ago and is still there today. He is also Chairperson of the West mini region.  He joined the then KDYS youth club’s executive and been chairperson for over 17 years, this included a lot of national attendance.  He has always kept closely in touch with the KDYS service and joined the Board of directors three years ago.  He was part of the service from Gate Lodge, Killarney.

The Siobhan Cotter Award - Michael O'Neill, FDYS Youth Work Ireland

Siobhán was President of the National Youth Federation from 2000 – 2003 and prior to that she served for many years as a volunteer internationally, nationally and with KDYS. A teacher by profession Siobhán’s rapport with young people was unparalleled and she was popular with all.  Siobhán’s impact on Youth Work Ireland. The Siobhan Cotter award was unanimously agreed by the Board of Youth Work Ireland to honour the valued contribution Siobhán made to the Federation (The Fed).  This prestigious honour for 2017 is awarded by the Board of Youth Work Ireland to Michael O’Neill, FDYS Youth Work Ireland for his outstanding contribution and support to the organisation.