Meet your Westfield Local Hero Finalists

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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 Chermside 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 Chermside. 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 Chermside are:

Athol Alcorn: Hummingbird House


Selfless. Kind. Committed.
Hummingbird House is Queensland’s only children’s hospice, for children with life-limiting conditions, and their families. Athol volunteers twice a week, working with staff and other volunteers to help families reconnect. The 86 year old assists with practical maintenance requirements at Hummingbird House, and logistical operations associated with routine activities, as well as events that deliver special outcomes for the children and their families. Athol’s work focuses on maintaining a safe, healthy and enjoyable environment for the children and their families. If sucessful, the $10,000 grant would help Hummingbird House to continue to offer their services for free - they rely on the generousity of the community to provide these much needed services including: short break stays, family support, creative therapies, and care at the end of life.

Janine Everett: Wavell Heights State School


Genuine. Tenacious. Engaging.
Janine is the sole teacher at the ASDAN school, a flexible school option for young people 10-14 years who are disengaged from school. These young people have often had behaviour or experiences that has lead to them not attending school, being asked to leave or being expelled from a traditional school model. Janine provides individual program and curriculum plans for each young person. Many of these young people come from backgrounds of dis-advantage and trauma. Many will have had contact with Child Protection, Police and Youth Justice. By engaging in education through ASDAN they and their families benefit through better life outcomes such as employment and social inclusion. This benefit flows to the community through reduced contact with social services and the criminal justice system. A grant of $10,000 would give the ASDAN program the opportunity to provide quality and engaging learning experiences with diverse outcomes in a range of educational domains. We could provide opportunities in Coding and Robotics. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics provide infinite hands on experiences that students who are disengaged from school miss out on.

Ken Gray: St Patrick's College Shorncliffe Foundation Limited


Trustworthy. Dependable. Champion.
Ken Gray is a proud volunteer of The Paddy's Van run by St Patrick's College. The Paddy's Van is a street van which students, staff and community members take out several times a week to help those in need. The van visits Decker Park, Brighton every Tuesday morning, Sandgate lagoon every second Saturday evening and the Sandgate Meals on Wheels carpark each Wednesday afternoon. Ken has been volunteering and cooking the BBQ for 14 years and is a regular face and key figure behind the scenes every Tuesday morning and Saturday night. The Paddy's Van serves around 8,000 meals per year and Ken has cooked thousands of sausages and bacon and eggs since 2004. Ken is a connector of people. He makes things happen yet in doing so is modest and unassuming. Although sometimes not in the best health himself, he never misses a shift. The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would fund The Paddy’s Van for the next 12 months with any additional funds put aside towards the cost of a new van that will be used to expand the program.

Simon La Rosa: Kwest4Learning


Dedicated. Approachable. Kind.
Simon is a mentor, advocate and educator of the autism community. His work is dedicated to empowering and educating young people on the autism spectrum, and enabling them to reach their highest potential. Simon volunteers his time to create and promotes the initiatives and programs that are available to Kwest4Learning participants. He develops opportunities for young people on the autism spectrum to appreciate who they are, their uniqueness, gifts and talents. He teaches strategies to cope with the challenges of autism, and to cope with the changes in the world around them to find their place in it. If sucessful, the $10,000 grant will help with the creation of micro-businesses, which would be used as a hands-on independent life skills development program tool. The program will teach young people on the Autism Spectrum how to establish a business, marketing, budgeting, theory of mind, time management, etc. These learnt skills would be translatable into their daily lives, creating confidence.

Paul O'Dea: Community Living Association Inc


Willing. Committed. Courageous.
Paul does voluntary work as Treasurer at Community Living Association Inc (CLA). CLA supports a 150 people with disabilities to receive a wide range of support services including employment, budgeting, emotional support, health and mental health support, recreation, community access, relationship support, support around abuse and exploitation. Paul is a man with a disability himself and as well as earning his living through his work at Help Enterprises he then engages in this wide range of voluntary community activities which take up a significant amount of his spare time. A significant element of Paul's legacy is that he has demonstrated that a person with an intellectual disability can engage in this wide range of community activities. Housing is a major issue in Australia for many people both in terms of entry to home ownership and rental. This difficulty is accentuated for people with a disability due to often low income levels and additional accessibility issues. A $10,000 grant would fund a joint project between CLA and IYHG to develop a new shared equity housing model for people with a disability.

Julie Ramsay: 3rd Space


Dynamic. Inspiring. Dedicated.
Jules runs a weekend activities program at 3rd Space, an inner city day centre for homeless and marginalised people. She seeks to break down the barriers and stigmas attached to homelessness, by involving the wider community in every aspect of the activities program. Jules’ role is to bring a weekend activities program to our drop-in centre. She participates in nearly all the activities herself, whilst enthusiastically sharing her own wide skill base with 3rd Space's visitors. To keep the program exciting, relevant and inclusive, she also uses her own funds to expand her knowledge and the range of available activities and projects. A grant of $10,000 would allow Jules to not only continue this programme but also to expand its delivery, both in the variety of experiences and in their availability across other days of the week. Her dream is to provide a range of off-site experiences such as fishing, hiking, movies and sporting activities for which transport is needed.

Recognising all our 2018 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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