Meet your Westfield Local Hero Finalists
In the first year of the Westfield Local Heroes program, we have received an overwhelming response and many heart-warming stories after asking the Bondi Junction community to nominate individuals who they believe promote social wellbeing and harmony in their communities.
We congratulate every one of our nominees and recognise the important contribution they make to the local community.
The community has now cast its vote, the outcome of which will determine the three successful 2018 Westfield Local Heroes for Westfield Bondi Junction. Each of their affiliated organisations will be awarded a $10,000 grant to support their work, program or activities.
The successful Westfield Local Heroes will be announced on 13 August.
Your six finalists for Westfield Bondi Junction are:
Rachel Draper: Responsible Cafes
Passionate. Resilient. Enthusiastic.
Rachel is the longest serving volunteer for Responsible Cafes and Runners. She established Responsible Runners in Rose Bay, that engages local schools, children and community members to meet weekly and do a beach clean ups in Rose Bay every Sunday. If successful, the $10,000 grant would be used to grow the toolkit of education items, specifically aimed at schools for teachers to use as part of their curriculum.
Erika Gleeson: Autism Swim
Passionate. Effervescent. Driven.
Drowning is the leading cause of death in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD),translating to children with ASD being 160 times more likely to drown than nuerotypicals. Autism Swim founder, Erika Gleeson created the organisation aiming to change these statistics by educating empowering, and facilitating societal change in a huge issue that is hugely underreported and very preventable. If successful, the $10,000 grant would allow more training and memberships to be offered to parents of children with a disability, for free.
Saxon Graham: Holdsworth Community
Inspirational. Generous. Loving.
Saxon's journey with Holdsworth Community started when he joined afterschool and school holiday programs as a child living with an intellectual disability. As Saxon grew into adulthood, his amazing community spirit came shining through as he began volunteering with Holdsworth’s Home Cuisine program, delivering food to frail older people in the community. If Saxon’s nomination is successful, a grant of $10,000 will help Holdsworth deliver on its purpose of ensuring that all people have the support and services they need to build their personal capacity. With this money Holdsworth will implement a more structured workplace training program for people living with a disability.
Karen Hamilton: REELise Incorporated
Committed. Innovative. Empowering.
REELise Incorporated works to safeguard youth mental health by empowering young people to address both the risk and opportunity of their online environment. REELise was created by the nominee in 2013 in response to local police concerns that lectures to young people in classrooms about cyberbullying and online risk were having no impact. It was considered a more innovative approach which encouraged young people to lead positive change was needed. If successful, the $10,000 grant would be used to improve its educational resources to help more young people around Australia deal with online safety and cyberbullying.
Kara Holmes: B Miles Women’s Foundation
Industrious. Big-hearted. Dedicated.
For women recovering from homelessness and trauma, psychological therapy is usually out of reach due to severe financial hardship. To address this disadvantage for women in Sydney’s Metropolitan area, Kara runs a program to remove barriers to psychological therapy for women in recovery from experiences of homelessness, trauma and mental ill-health. If successful, the grant would be utilised for Kara to support additional women, within the local area. If successful, The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would enable more women with symptoms of trauma and distress to be supported, free of charge, to rebuild their lives after homelessness.
George Karounis: Our Big Kitchen
Enthusiastic. Loyal. Caring.
Our Big Kitchen is a community kitchen in Bondi that nourishes, educates and supports people in need. OBK produces over 70 000 meals per year to go to disadvantaged Australians. George assists in this by running multiple charity events and working with agencies, charities and volunteers to ensure he can continue to support disadvantaged people. If successful, the $10,000 grant will enrich and grow the OBK centre and will be used for upgrades to equipment used daily to feed people.