Local young people have been recognised for their ability to “inspire and mobilise their own generation” in the Diana Awards.
Megan Hart, Danny Porter and Tammie-Lee McIlwraith are involved with Kinship Care in Derry, and were honoured at the ceremony in Belfast.
Speaking of 15-years-old Megan Hart, a spokesperson said: “Megan shares her own personal experiences to help other young people come to terms with the death or separation of their own parents.
“Megan represents her peers as their chosen Youth Champion and meets with the Mayor and senior policy makers to discuss the work of Kinship Care and its impact on service users.
“Megan has demonstrated her own resilience, overcoming any limitations her rare eye condition has brought her way. Megan’s caring and supportive nature doesn’t end with her volunteering; she is also a young carer for her Grandma.”
Danny Porter is also aged 15, and following the death of his parents, he left his home and moved in with aunt and uncle.
“Danny has been impassioned to use his experience to support others in situations like his. As a Junior Youth Champion with Kinship Care, Danny shares his personal story with children who have experienced the death of a parent and he gives his time to support them in establishing goals for the future.
“Through speaking publicly about his personal experience Danny has raised awareness of Kinship Care and has brought people in his community together to engage policy makers and social sector organisations to improve support for many other young people,” said the spokesperson.
Tammie-Lee McIlwraith is aged just 11, and two years ago she was placed in the care of her grandparents.
Since then, she has started working with Kinship Care NI and has been instrumental in supporting other young people who have been placed in kinship care as well.
The spokesperson added: “With the charity she provides practical support to young people and has worked on over 30 summer activities for 441 children.
“She has helped organise workshops in different areas of the North and has raised over £600 for the charity to boost their work. Tammie-Lee hopes to continue supporting young people in the future and aspires to be a teacher so she can make this dream a reality.” Each of the winners were presented with their awards from actor Gerard McCarthy & Lord Lieutenant of County Down.