This award category is proudly presented by ZEST Event Partner – Parramatta City Council.
- Must demonstrate evidence of being an extraordinary community leader within a new or existing community.
- Show evidence of where they have taken an active role for the well-being and improvement in their community.
Cassie has been volunteering with Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre and the ageing program for over 6 years. Cassie’s perseverance and contribution has greatly benefited the Centre in allowing it to provide services with limited resources – particularly for older clients with whom Cassie works. Cassie has built practical skills, confidence and friendships; her volunteering achievements and valuable contribution are made more remarkable in that she is, herself, living with disability. Cassie volunteers with a Seniors Friday Friendship Group, monthly outings and community events. She is reliable, consistent, passionate, well-loved, highly valued and respected for her work and is a ray of sunshine to the Riverstone staff and clients.
Judy Nicholas is a mental health advocate and has been a volunteer since 2016. Four years ago, Judy established a ‘lived experience’ leadership group, The Collectives, to assist Hume Housing and partner organisations in increasing knowledge and skills for staff regarding appropriate policies and procedures that support residents with hoarding disorder. A member of the ARAFMI NSW Peak Advisory Committee, Judy’s achievements include forming an international partnership, developing participation in the ‘Buried in Treasures’ Recovery program, and developing and distributing resources.
Mina co-ordinates the Heads Up For Fire (HUFF) and other emergencies program, and is the President of the Mt Victoria Community Association. She is an active member of the local Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Rotary chapter, and was the key instigator and driver of bringing Mt Victoria’s Great Train Weekend to realisation, in 2018. Mina undertakes all these roles in a voluntary capacity. Currently, there are more than 80 volunteers who participate in the HUFF program, under Mina’s direction. Over 2,500 people attended the Great Train Weekend, boosting the local community of Mount Victoria and encouraging interest in the area’s history and culture.
Raghda is a young, emerging leader from the Chaldean community in Fairfield and a recipient of Settlement Services International’s Community Innovation Fund (CIF). She established a course that supports people in gaining skills to use technology in English and enables access to online services, such as banking and Centrelink, as well as personal devices, email and computer accessories. Arriving in Australia in 2011, Raghda immediately began volunteering to support people from refugee background as a volunteer case worker. She is still well known in the community as the go-to person for supporting people to navigate online services and runs a course for newcomers to learn basic technology skills.
Ganesh Loke has helped needy people and new migrants in the Indian Marathi Community in Western Sydney for more than 15 years. He has conducted motivational seminars and free events, to assist new migrants prepare resumes, find jobs and accommodation, locate information and find motivational support – all on a volunteer basis, through his group, ‘Marathi Community Sydney’, 21st Century World Inc. and Ultimate Success Education. He has conducted a forum on community radio regarding motivation and multiculturalism in Australia. Ganesh has written and produced two Bollywood movies and one Australian short film, ‘Let’s Change the World’ – all of which are based on social issues with a strong community message.
Kerry is an outstanding leader, with over 24 years’ commitment to the local community in which she serves. She has played a key role in supporting innovative programs, from conception to reality, going above and beyond in times of natural disaster and earning the respect of all community members and staff she encounters. Following devastating bushfires in the region, Kerry played an integral part in the development of ‘Walk With’, a framework for community service providers to prepare their staff and services for any major disaster that they may have to manage in the future.
Lida Mangal is a proud, passionate and dedicated volunteer, and is active member of Afghan Women on the Move. Lida’s belief in gender equality informed her work as an activist in Afghanistan, articulating a voice for the weak, and empowering women. Lida’s knowledge of the Dari, Pashto and English languages assists the Afghan Women’s group to communicate across a wider range of women. A skilled, powerful speaker, Lida most recently spoke in a public interview, in Pashto and Dari, about the organisation and its objectives. Her strength and voice are applied to further empower women, via social media.