NUI Galway student Eve-Marie Costello has been awarded The Outstanding Young Person of Ireland award from Junior Chamber International (JCI), and has been put forward as a candidate for the Outstanding Young Persons of the World title, which will be announced in Taiwan later this year.
Originally from Ballyglunin, Athenry, Co. Galway, Eva Marie is a third-year Science student at the University. NUI Galway’s Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Volunteer Coordinator, and Riona Hughes, Societies Officer, nominated Eva-Marie for the coveted award in recognition of her significant achievement in the area of contribution to children, world peace and/or human rights.
According to Riona Hughes: “Students like Eva-Marie and Melanie Hennessey, our most recent winner of the world title in 2010, who set up an orphanage and brought medical support to Nepal through her society Draíocht, show the impact that one person can make to bringing about positive change which impacts so profoundly on the students who they support and inspire to volunteer.”
Eva-Marie began her volunteering in India during transition year in secondary school and has built on this by setting up the Ashirbad Society in NUI Galway. The Ashirbad Society focuses on sending NUI Galway students to India during the summer months to volunteer in areas of need including education, medical and agricultural. It also hopes to raise awareness of the needs of the people in the emerging sub-continent of India and to fundraise in order to improve the living and educational conditions for the under-privileged children of Kalimpong, West Bengal.
Since 2007, Eva-Marie has travelled to India each year to work with the Cluny Sisters in Kalimpong, India. Eva-Marie now acts as a project instigator with the Sisters and is currently in the process of fundraising and planning for the development of the Declan Resource and Research Centre. She also volunteered at an Aids Centre run by the nuns, and was instrumental in producing an annual musical with the children and students. With her fellow volunteers they have raised over €45,000 in the last four years. Eva-Marie volunteered with SUAS homework club and has also been a key player in the NUI Galway musical society since she started at the University.
Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, said; “What sets Eva-Marie apart is her vision and commitment for the future, not only volunteering herself, but setting in place a structure which will see NUI Galway students into the future work with the Cluny Sisters on their great work in Kalimpong, and through this experience learning and growing as active citizens of the world. We are delighted to support JCI as they seek to recognise the valuable contribution volunteers make to society and congratulate Eva-Marie on exemplifying the NUI Galway civic graduate.”
At the Regional JCI Top Outstanding Young Person of the Year awards, NUI Galway final year Occupational Therapy student Méabh Healy won the Regional Award in the Academic Leadership and/or Accomplishment category. From Mount Talbot, Co. Roscommon, Méabh was presented with her award for her two year research programmes with Enable Ireland.
The Outstanding Young Persons program of Junior Chamber International serves to recognise up to ten individuals between the ages of 18 and 40 who exemplify the best attributes of the world’s young people. NUI Galway students have previously won The Outstanding Young Persons of the World award in 2007 and again in 2010.