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 Doncaster 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 Doncaster. 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 Doncaster are:
Jeanette Carrison: Foster Care Association of Victoria
Jeanette has taken over 50 foster kids into her own home over the last 20 years until they can find a permanent family. She began foster caring as a single mum with four children, and has continued to be a safe haven for kids in crisis. If chosen as a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 would enable would Foster Care Association of Victoria to assist in providing further support to individuals like Jeanette who selflessly assist the community.
Evajo Edwards: Connecting Home & Link Up
Evajo is a respected and valued member of the Indigenous community who is passionate about assisting indigenous individuals to find their families and reconnect with the community from which they were removed. If Evajo is successful in becoming a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant will support Connecting Home & Link Up to further aid individuals to return to country and also provide support to those in need with counselling and financial aid.
Karen Fox: Special Olympics – Melbourne Inner East
Karen co-ordinates the swimming club for the Special Olympics based at the Carey Aquatic Centre in Bulleen, as well as organising state wide competitions for all swimmers in Victoria, and assisting with managing the swim team of international Special Olympics competitors. Through her passion for inclusion and the sport of swimming, Karen works to provide positive opportunities to all athletes with an intellectual disability. If Karen is successful in becoming a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 funding would help to ease financial pressure on athletes and families by contributing to equipment, uniforms, healthcare, coaches and venue hire.
Pippa French: 3000acres
By building community gardens, running educational workshops and facilitating residents to share their resources, Pippa through 3000acres has helped people grow fresh and healthy food. Through events and community gardens they promote social wellbeing through fighting isolation (bringing people together - mental health), ensuring people understand and have access to fresh/healthy food (physical health) and creating safe outdoor spaces for learning and sharing. Pippa has led the organisation as a General Manager for years, and has recently become a member of the Board. If Pippa is successful in becoming a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 funding would allow 3000acres to optimise 20 community gardens across the local area, establish a community compost hub and run workshops to educate people with the skills and knowledge to grow healthy fresh food.
Melissa Noonan: Limbs 4 Life Incorporated
Melissa co-founded Limbs 4 Life in 2004 after an accident left her as an above-knee amputee and caused feelings of isolation and insecurity about her future. Melissa now positively impacts the lives of Australian amputees and their care givers by providing programs and services that include one-on-one peer support sessions, health-based wellbeing information, and inclusive events and activities. If Melissa is successful in becoming a Westfield Local Hero, the grant would be used to build the capacity of the Limbs 4 Life volunteer base to train more amputees to become additional peer support volunteers and further impact the community of amputees in Australia.
Jo-Anne Otten: Crossway Lifecare Ltd
Through her work as the Youth COACH Program Coordinator at Crossway Lifecare, Jo-Anne implements a mentoring program for at-risk and vulnerable young people in Doncaster and surrounding communities. Passionate about empowering disadvantaged youth, Jo-Anne works to increase resilience, create a sense of belonging and maintain their engagement with education and employment. If chosen as a Westfield Local Hero, Jo-Anne and Crossway Lifecare would be able to recruit and work with an additional 20 young people and mentors across the community.