TRAINEE teacher Michelle Nicholas has become the first winner of a college bursary scheme initiatied by the MPCC Credit Union. Michelle, from Gouldavoher in Limerick and who is going into her second year of teacher training at Mary Immaculate College, secured €2000 towards this year’s course and will be awarded a further €2000 when she moves into her final year.
“This is a good news story from a financial institution,” said David Noble, youth officer with the MPCC credit union which covers Mungret, Patrickswell, Clarina, Crecora and Dooradoyle. It showed, he added, that the credit union was not just another bank. “We are different from banks. We are still here for people. This is giving something back to the communities in which we work.”
Other credit unions, he explained to the Limerick Leader, also try to help their student members but usually the college bursaries are awarded either on an academic basis or on a lottery basis – very often, the first out of a hat. MPCC however wanted its candidates to demonstrate that they had done something to help and contribute to their own community or something to improve the lives of others. Candidates were also invited to show how they have created a greater awareness of an issue or cause they are involved in.
And the directors were clearly impressed – and not a little astonished – by the response to the bursary. Tim Ryan, chairman of MPCC Credit Union paid tribute to the commitment shown by the younger generation to help others. “It was very reassuring to see the efforts that younger members of the credit union are making to improve the communities in which they live,” he said.
“Michelle is an excellent ambassador for the credit union, Crescent College, Mary Immaculate College, her family and community,” he added. “She is an excellent role model for her peers and a fine example of what young people can do to make a difference. MPCC Credit Union is delighted to have selected Michelle as the inaugural winner of the Bursary Award and now invites others to follow in her footsteps next year.”
“My plan is to help my parents pay for my education fees in Mary Immaculate College and then begin to plan a future trip to Lourdes or even Kenya, where yet again I would be able to fulfil my dream of helping others or making a difference in any way I can,” Michelle said, accepting the bursary.
She has made two trips to Lourdes with the Limerick Youth Diocesan Group as a volunteer assisting invalids and also travelled to South Africa last year where she took part in the Arupe Project, helping orphan children in Flagstaff, a small rural town three hours from Durban.
Next year she intends making a voluntary trip to Kenya to teach for a week in a classroom and to experience first-hand the daily lives of young children who struggle for food.