Meet your Westfield Local Hero Finalists


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 Fountain Gate 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 Fountain Gate. 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 Fountain Gate are:

Dean Cowan: Pakenham Pony Rescue Organisation

Dedicated. Tenacious. Creative.
Dean is the Founder of Pakenham Pony Rescue Organisation (PPRO), a not-for-profit organisation that rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes abandoned, abused and neglected miniature horses and ponies. Its volunteer program promotes positive action and behaviours and increases social inclusion. Volunteers, often young people stay-at-home-mums and older members of the community, spend time interacting with the horses and ponies, cleaning paddocks, grooming, rugging and feeding the animals.

If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, Dean would put the grant towards repairing their PPRO float, to avoid hiring one when moving horses, relocating the organisation to a new property and building new stables and fencing on site.

Kathyrn Sharp: Tulliallan Primary School

Proactive. Committed. Determined.
Kathryn has been an advocate for public education for over thirty years. As Community Engagement Leader at Tulliallan Primary, Kathryn works tirelessly to improve academic and social achievements of the students, promoting high expectations of social harmony between children, their families and the teaching team. This is achieved through lunch time activities, culture programs and celebrating diversity. Kathryn also conducts information sessions to encourage writing, reading, ICT and mathematical learning as well as access to external programs and agencies.

If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, Kathryn would put the grant towards supporting AEL families, providing parenting programs, develop more information sessions, conduct family day initiatives and more.

Leanne Petrides: Cranbourne Information & Support Service

Understanding. Trustworthy. Hardworking.
Leanne has managed the Cranbourne Information & Support Service (CISS) since 1999. CISS provides crisis support services to people fleeing family violence, struggling with poverty, homelessness, addiction and mental illness. Since working at CISS, Leanne has been instrumental in advocating to better meet the needs of a growing population, including introducing new programs such as the "Back to School" Support Program. Under her direction, the agency has grown to become the largest provider of emergency relief and free counselling services in Casey South.

If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, Leanne would put the grant into forming the CISS Flexible Support Options Program; providing emergency relief support in a variety of flexible, out of the ordinary ways. This may include; part payment of essential bills to avoid disconnection, part payment of car registration, locks for doors or windows for those feeling unsafe in their home, education support for children (including textbooks and electronic devices) and more.

Sukhwinder Kaur: Sikh Volunteers Australia

Passionate. Professional. Collaborative.
For the past seven years, Sukhwinder has been a volunteer for Sikh Volunteers Australia, an organisation that strives for peace and cultural harmony amongst the community. Sukhwinder and her peers connects members of the Sikh community with support and services from other non-profit organisations, local councils and events. Within her role, Sukhwinder r prepares food twice a week for a free food van run for an external Homeless organisation in Casey. Sukhwinder is also tutoring over sixty kids to learn the Punjabi language, heritage and music at the community school.

If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, Sukhwinder would use the funds to increase resources and attract more volunteers to Sikh Volunteers Australia.

Sylvia Ryan: Berwick Secondary College

Inclusive. Inspirational. Dependable.
Sylvia is a social worker and a valuable member of Berwick College's Student Support Team. As an employee of Berwick College, Sylvia provides support to students experiencing barriers to achieving positive educational outcomes, including; family violence, social relationships, bullying, body image, disabilities and substance abuse. Sylvia helps to provide access to school uniforms, textbooks and funding for school camps, anti-bullying programs, social activities to promote positive behaviour, social inclusion initiatives and more.

If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, Sylvia would use the grant to invest into Mental Health First Aid training for all teaching staff and student leaders, over a two-year period.

Torri Norris: Victorian YMCA Community Programming Pty Ltd

Kind. Considerate. Inspirational.
For the past five years, Tori has been part of the Community Engagement Team within the YMCA. Whilst thousands of Victorians access YMCA programs or services on a weekly basis, there is a substantial amount of people within the City of Casey area that cannot, due to their economic or social situation. As part of the Community Engagement Team, Tori’s role is to improve the lives of those doing it tough within the community, to enable people to live healthier, happier and more connected lives.

If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, Tori would donate funds to the YMCA’s Open Doors initiative, to assist those people who cannot afford YMCA services, to gain access. It would put approximately twenty people, adults and children, through health and wellbeing and/or swimming programs.

Recognising all our 2018 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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