JENNA McCourt feels like a ‘celebrity’ after winning the District Final for the Lions Club International Young Ambassador of the the 21st Century.
The A-Level student at New-Bridge Integrated College said her work with the youth sector in the community helped to secure the title. Jenna has been volunteering for two years in the Greater Belfast Road Youth Club and enjoys every minute of it.
“I work with kids aged 14-17,” she said. “We get them off the streets with structured and supervised play, there is also the chance for them to gain qualifications too.”
The Lions award operates to encourage and support young people who are actively involved in community service work. Brian McShane, Convenor of the award, said Jenna’s application completely “blew the panel away”.
He said she has done an immense amount of community work and deserves the title, adding: “She is an energetic and enthusiastic young girl, so many people could benefit from her skills in life, she is a true inspiration to the youth of today with her vibrant personality.”
Jenna will now go to the Multiple District Final in Newry, and if successful at each heat in the scheme could travel to as far away as Milan.
She is so passionate about youth work that on top of her A-Levels Jenna is also studying for a level 2 and 3 OCN leadership course which involves elements of child protection, health and safety.
“I want to learn more about young people all the time,” said Jenna.
“I connect better with them and enjoy listening and talking to them about their life.”
Speaking about her future, Jenna wants to study a degree in Community Youth Work at Jordanstown and her long term goal is to open a youth centre for deprived areas.
The aim of the award is to support particular projects that are brought to the attention by young people competing in the scheme, and bursaries are given as an award for winning the different finals. J
enna reinforced that volunteering in the youth sector is a great way to help the local community, however she also states: “There are not enough volunteers so I would encourage people to get more involved with helping the youth of today.”