Omagh volunteer Johanne McCanny was recently announced as the recipient of the annual Ross McCartney Volunteer Award in recognition for her outstanding work and commitment in supporting young offenders.
The award is sponsored by the Youth Justice Agency in memory of former volunteer, Ross McCartney who died from cancer at the age of 24.
Johanne, a second year HND Health and Social Care student at the South West College in Dungannon started out as a volunteer with the Omagh Youth Justice Agency in 2012. Johanne’s role involves mentoring young offenders, offering family support, facilitating reparation work and offering bail support across counties Tyrone and Fermanagh.
A surprised but truly delighted Johanne said:
“I am completely surprised to have received the award. I am relatively new to volunteering but for me it has been a huge learning curve and as challenging as it has been, it has also been more rewarding.
“My work with young offenders at the Youth Justice Agency has also been greatly beneficial to my course my experience to assignments and discussions on my health and social care course.”
At an evening reception held in Derry/Londonderry, Justice Minister David Ford paid tribute to volunteers who work closely with the Youth Justice Agency.
Speaking at the event, David Ford said:
“Volunteers are positive role models for young people, assisting them in making good choices about their lives and diverting them from crime. They can really help young people develop the skills and maturity they need as they move towards adulthood.
“Ross undoubtedly made a positive impact on the lives of young people before his untimely death and it is a fitting tribute to Ross that the Agency continues to sponsor an annual award in recognition of his work.”
Commending Johanne on receiving the award, David Ford added:
“Through her volunteering Johanne has demonstrated the same qualities and values as Ross and with the commitment and determination of volunteers like Johanne, I’m confident that they will continue to play a vital role in working with young people."