Malawian born Dylan Rebello, a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) at Lucan Community National School, was named a Hidden Hearing Hero at this year’s national awards presentation recently. The Immigrant Hero Award is a new award category this year, created to celebrate non-nationals living in Ireland who are making a positive difference in their new community.
Dylan has been described as the most amazing SNA who supports students with additional needs, as well as assisting teachers with their workload. Known as kind, caring, and someone who goes out of his way to get to know the children and their parents, Dylan says his homeland is the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ where, despite struggles, Malawians show gratitude, resilience, and warmth.
Although he completed a business degree when he came to Ireland, Dylan Rebello was not happy in the corporate world. His wife, a teacher, encouraged him to re-train, and now he is proud to be part of the Lucan CNS team, providing an inclusive education for the young students who are open-minded, culturally sensitive, and responsible citizens with a strong sense of shared values. Colleagues who nominated Dylan noted how he motivates, encourages, instils confidence and provides a sense of belonging for the children in the school community, regardless of background. “Our Immigrant Hero, DylanRebello is a remarkable man who knows the importance of fostering a sense of community and belonging in a school system. Dylan’s dedication to his students, school and community is inspiring. He puts in the time and extra effort to ensure his students are cared for, and shares a positive life-affirming ethos with them,” Stephen Leddy, Managing Director of Hidden Hearing, said at the awards presentation.
Elaine Taylor from Lucan was named 2023 Hero For Families Facing Adversity. As a specialist children’s and general nurse, Elaine has dedicated most of her life to supporting those with disabilities and illness. She has volunteered with the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps for over 40 years, assisting with training, treating members of the public, and providing community care.
In 2005, she established the ‘Share to Care’ project, which sees children and young adults with disabilities spend weekends at Share Village in Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh. With access to the skills of Order of Malta volunteers, and her own nursing background and passion for holistic care, Elaine wanted to create a safe space for respite care that fostered friendship in a meaningful way. Elaine Taylor’s work helping families deal with adversity comes on top of working full-time at Crumlin Children’s Hospital, and giving all her free time and energy to others who are in need.
She encourages volunteers to bring their own children on respite weekends, ensuring these young people accept others with disability, and grow and develop in a society that embraces inclusivity and everyone’s unique ability. “Elaine Taylor has volunteered most of her life to help others. Her work, opening a safe space for less able children, providing healthcare in the community, and educating others, while holding down a full-time nursing job, is truly remarkable. Elaine deserves very special recognition today,” Stephen Leddy, Managing Director of Hidden Hearing, said at the awards presentation.