A YOUNGSTER who was too scared to leave her home in Moyross until the Monks arrived for fear of shootings has won a major youth award.
Melissa O’Brien, 18, has won the title of Lions Club Young Ambassador of the Year, for the Mid-West region.
Now, she will progress to a final in Dublin, where she will take on contestants selected by Lions Clubs the length and breath of the country.
She was selected by the Castletroy and District Lions Club to run for the award, which is designed to encourage the voluntary work of young people in the community.
To win the prize at the regional final in Roscrea, Melissa told judges of the impressive charity work which she does.
She spends the vast majority of her spare time assisting the Franciscan Friars of Moyross in their pastoral activities.
Melissa is also in charge of managing the arts and crafts element of the after-school club organised by the Friars.
She also volunteers for the Moyross pre-teen Tuesday night group, and led a group at a Christian youth retreat in Kildare last weekend.
Melissa, who aims to be a teacher, admitted she could not believe she had won the prize at the event in Roscrea’s Damer Court Hotel.
The toughest part of the process, she said, was being grilled by the three judges, Seamus Mullaney, Noreen Moore-Heenan and Jim Dwyer, from the Roscrea Lions Club.
“They asked me irrelevant questions to try and catch me off guard. But it was a great experience overall. It was a challenge, but I did very well,” she said.
If Melissa wins the Dublin final, she will be awarded with a €500 grant for charity.
She wants to help Mary’s Meals, which sets up school feeding projects in the world’s poorest communities.