TWO community initiatives by young people in Cork have been singled out for national awards.
The two groups – from Bishopstown Foróige Youth Project and Maria Immaculata Community College in Dunmanway – were presented with two of the first ever Garda National Youth Awards at a ceremony in Portlaoise on Saturday.
22 awards were presented to over 100 young people, aged between 13 and 21 years, from across the country who have made their communities better places to live.
The Bishopstown group were honoured with a group award for their work in developing a community garden, including a sensory area for the pupils of the nearby St Gabriel's Special School.
In the citation, the group of boys was described as "a selfless group of young men who put the needs of their local community first and foremost."
The group was nominated by Togher garda Paul Hyde, who said that the boys had "developed a very positive sense of self-worth and self-esteem thanks to the many projects they have completed."
The Dunmanway group of six students received their award for their work in raising €24,0000 for the Habitat for Humanity charity and taking part in aid work during a three week trip to Zambia.
During their visit, the group of boys built a house for a grandmother who was rearing her grandchildren who had AIDS.
When they left the township they had been in, they donated their own clothing, bedding and personal belongings to the local people. During their visit, they attended a reception hosted by the Irish Ambassador and Irish Aid.
Their citation said: "The fruits for their labour will be felt in Zambia for years to come. What they achieved is truly inspirational."