MICHAEL Keohane, a student at St Fachtna’s De La Salle in Skibbereen, has been named the All Ireland Youth Volunteer of the Year.
Michael, who has also been a contributor to the Southern Star in the past, was selected from hundreds of youth volunteers across Ireland to receive the title at the 2015 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards.
Judges said he was chosen ‘for the exemplary work he carries out in his local community’. As well as receiving €1,000 for a charity of his choice and a gold medallion, Michael will now travel on an all-expenses paid trip to Washington DC in the US in May.
While in Washington, he will meet up with youth volunteers from across America and participate in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards ceremony.
Working to promote youth mental health, Michael helped to establish the ‘Youth in Action’ project ‘Skibb Scenes’ offering cinema facilities and a social outlet to young people in the local community. He set up supportive workshops around the theme of ‘Skibb Smiles’ and, through the Cope Foundation in Skibbereen, worked closely with clients suffering intellectual disabilities.
In August 2014 Michael took on his biggest challenge with the Aurelia Trust and travelled to Romania to work with young disabled adults who had been institutionalised from birth.
Michael has written for the Southern Star in recent years on issues affecting young people today.