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 Hurstville 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 Hurstville. 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 Hurstville are:
Syed Ahmad: Top Blokes Foundation
Hilarious. Humble. Relatable
The purpose of the Top Blokes Foundation is to improve young men’s mental health and well-being. In the last 12-months, Syed has delivered, over 350 hours of mentoring, has personally mentored over 65 young men aged 14-24 where each of them have completed a 6-month mentoring program (1 hour a week for 6 months). His mentoring ensures boys discuss: anger management, healthy masculinities, mental health, respectful relationships (including addressing sexual consent), realities of pornography, peer pressure and risk taking, reducing homophobia and improving connection to education. If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant would go towards additional mentoring programs to boys and young men. Delivering a mentoring program that would reach approximately 45 young men from both Primary and High school, leading to a lasting impact in the local community.
Kellie Checkley: Project Youth Inc
Committed. Focused. Driven
Working as the executive officer for Project Youth, Kellie's work is tireless in ensuring the social justice, inclusion, and rights of young people in the community. Kellie is a strong advocate for the rights of young people and lobbies at a local, state and federal level, ensuring resources remain available to service and support them. Additionally, Kellie works directly with the community through drop in and case management. If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,00 grant would be utilised to cover staff wages, supporting street-based outreach.
Steve Drakoulis: Autism Community Network
Passionate. Committed. Inspirational
Steve’s focus is to create a society where people affected by autism enjoy the same opportunities and quality of life as everyone else. Steve is the Founder and General Manager of ACN. He manages most aspects of the operation, whilst training and supporting 30+ volunteers across Sydney. Steve regularly speaks at events, community groups and schools and networks with other organisations and businesses to grow the ACN. If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant would contribute to providing extra assistance to the ever-growing number of support groups the organization has. Currently the organisation has 31 groups at no charge, catering over to 1200+ registered families. Money would also assist in the organisations ability to continue long term, supporting and providing free services to families affected.
Natalia Esdaile Watts: Moving Forward
Active. Driven. Vibrant
Natalia is very active in raising awareness and aiming to reduce the impact of Domestic Violence within the community. She works hard and speaks out at many functions (International Women’s Day, Schools, Candle Light Vigil), to build supportive and safe networks, working towards Domestic Violence free families and relationships. She encourages youth to stand up for themselves and one another. Natalia is a Committee member for the local Council's Inaugural White Ribbon Walk, she ran City2Surf to raise over $1000 for White Ribbon and presented to LAC St George Police DV Unit, educating them on the best ways to communicate with a Domestic Violence victims. If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, $5,000 of the grant would go towards opening a refuge in the St George’s River Council area and $5,000 would go towards helping women directly as they approach Moving Forward organisation to assist with their needs at that time i.e. Bond, Groceries or furniture.
Amal Madani: 3 Bridges Community Limited
Modest. Inspirational. Passionate
Amal is a community leader who supports and enriches the lives of vulnerable people in our local community providing services including case management, crisis intervention & counselling. Amal is leading many local dementia friendly initiatives and would like to extend this initiative to create a Dementia Friendly Westfield Hurstville program making Westfield Hurstville a dementia friendly shopping centre that is inclusive and supportive of people living with dementia. If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant would cover the cost of making a Dementia Specialist accessible to the community to provide information and run educational workshops.
Ray Sun: Headspace Hurstville
Insightful. Inspiring. Dedicated.
Ray has been volunteering for Headspace Hurstville for 4+ years. Headspace Hurstville is a free youth mental health charity, supporting young people in the George's River area who are going through a tough time. Ray attends meetings, events and school presentations to advocate for youth metal health and supports his peers. As these events, Ray shares stories of his life experience and offers self-care advice and tips. Ray also acts as an interpreter at Headspace community stalls ensuring the Chinese community are aware of our services. If announced as a Westfield Local Hero, the grant would contribute towards; a yoga and art group, community events, resources and giving back to our Volunteer group.