The Institute of Technology Tralee President’s Civic Spirit Award has been established to recognise and acknowledge the significant contribution of ITT’s student volunteers to the Institute and the wider community. The 2013 Civic Spirit Award was presented to Mr. Peter Bounds, 2nd year, Health & Leisure Studies student, in recognition of his exceptional work with the CARA Adapted Physical Activity Centre based in the Institute. He specifically worked from January to May 2013, in the preparatory work for the annual sports and recreation camp, for children with vision impairments and blindness (8-18 years) Campabilities. This is a 5 day residential camp run each year in Killarney, which aims to introduce children with vision impairments to new sports/physical activities, increasing their independence within the community and empowering each camper to be physically active, whilst enabling them to access opportunities and sustain their physical activity levels on returning home. Peter undertook the voluntary role of Catering Officer, where he was challenged with organising all of the meals for the 5 days. This involved sourcing sponsored and donated food from suppliers and he engaged the voluntary services of Chefs from the Malton Hotel to add their culinary expertise, to the event, whereby they provided all cooked meals for the camp.
Peter was a little daunted initially when he took on the role of catering officer, however ‘he was excited by the challenge’, he learned during his volunteering experience that ‘people are enriched by the opportunity to participate and contribute to their wider community’, ‘when I approached people, they were very open to the values behind the camp and the opportunity it provided for the children’. In regards to using his volunteering experience in his future work, Peter added that ‘by allowing people to see the benefits of their actions and by encouraging support for each other to achieve a common goal, you are able to gain maximum efficiency and positive output from all volunteers and employees. Civic engagement can promote a healthy mind and spirit which has a knock on effect on a person’s work standards.’
The Civic Spirit Award provides Peter with a €500 bursary towards his future volunteering endeavours, enabling him to travel further afield and spread his civic engagement ethos to new worthwhile projects.
Amehan Dhannon, International Medical Commencement Programme student was awarded a special citation for her volunteering work with the Irish Red Cross. She found that working with this organisation really helped her in progressing her studies, and in particular she learned how she gained great self-satisfaction from being in a position to help other people.
“Civic engagement and volunteering enables the student to experience positive associations, increased life satisfaction and higher self- esteem. Enabling such student experience is very important within the ethos of the Institute. We are one of the first Higher Education Institutes to award academic credit for civic engagement and volunteering experiences. The elective modules Community Service Initiative and Community Leadership Initiative, focus on expanding student community civic engagement and social capital enhancement” Dr. Oliver Murphy, President ITT.
Further information: www.ittralee.ie/en/InformationAbout/CommunityEngagement/