Meet your local hero finalists

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Meet your local hero finalists

Read about your Westfield Local Hero finalists

Westfield Local Heroes is a community recognition and grants program, connecting and enriching local communities.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the outcome of the public vote determining the three successful 2019 nominees for Westfield Mt Druitt. Each of the affiliated organisations for the successful three heroes will be awarded a $10,000 grant to support their work to thrive. In total, Westfield will be awarding 120 grants across Australia and New Zealand – totalling $1.2 million.

Your Westfield Local Heroes will be announced here on 1 October.

Your six finalists for Westfield Mt Druitt are:

Aunty Jenny Ebsworth

Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation
Strong . Wise . Selfless

When Aboriginal people in western Sydney need the advice, support and wisdom of an Elder, Aunty Jenny Ebsworth is always there to call on. Aunty Jenny is one of four Elders behind the Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation, a group that helps the local community in every aspect of their lives. She and her fellow Elders host weekly meals, turning no one away and seeking to build their people’s pride in their identity. “I am very well known in the community and am often called upon to attend meetings and give cultural advice,” Aunty Jenny says.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Aunty Jenny is voted a Westfield Local Hero, Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation will use its $10,000 grant to install new blinds in its building in Emerton as the existing curtains are old and not fit for use.


Danny Mayson-Kinder

Flyhighbillie
Strong . Focused . Compassionate

Danny Mayson-Kinder’s world was shattered in 2016 when she lost her 12-year-old daughter, Billie, in a tragic horse accident. She has ensured Billie’s legacy lives on with the charity Flyhighbillie, which is dedicated to promoting empathy and compassion in children. “When our beautiful daughter died, we received thousands of messages saying how kind and empathetic she was. This means Billie's legacy has become one of kindness,” Danny says. Central to the charity’s mission is spreading a message to "B Kinder" (be kinder), a reference to Billie’s name and her compassionate nature. Flyhighbillie publishes interactive B Kinder workbooks for children, with proceeds going to charities. Sales of Billie's book, "Hope" and the B Kinder Workbooks have raised over $116,000. The purpose behind the message is to reduce mental health issues, bullying and suicide in school age children.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Danny is voted a Westfield Local Hero, Flyhighbillie will use its $10,000 grant for marketing, printing and bookkeeping, and to commission a report on the B Kinder workbooks to assess their impact and boost the evidence base for the project.


Gary Pontifex

The Children's Hospital Westmead
Committed . Enthusiastic . Devoted

Family means everything to Gary Pontifex, which is the driving force behind his 25-year fundraising effort for The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Gary relentlessly goes about selling merchandise at shopping centres and train stations and organising fundraising BBQs. Last year was one of his “biggest and proudest”, and he raised $60,000. “I love fundraising for the hospital, and if it can make a difference, that makes me happy,” says Gary, who believes no child deserves to be sick. The money Gary raises is used for research, equipment and to support families with sick children.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Gary is successful, the hospital will use its grant to fund expensive equipment such as a temporary pacemaker or breathing monitors.


Mayor Chagai

PCYC Blacktown
Committed . Compassionate . Enthusiastic

The Savannah Pride basketball and mentorship program is producing some of Australia’s next champions, but its biggest achievement is off the court. Head coach Mayor Chagai has been running the program since 2007 with a mission to shape young lives through sport. Based at PCYC Blacktown, Mayor and his team of coaches and mentors put on basketball training and competitions for up to 200 young people a week. “It keeps young people away from engaging in antisocial behaviour, away from crime, and creates better education pathways for them,” says Mayor.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Mayor is successful, PCYC Blacktown will use its grant to fund Savannah Pride’s ongoing costs and to buy equipment. Nobody is turned away from the club, and the money will also be used to subsidise participation fees for those who can’t afford to pay.


Ned Narouz

Rap 4 Change
Caring . Dedicated . Selfless

Ned Narouz knows from experience how vital a mentor can be for young people struggling through the juvenile justice system. As the founder of Rap 4 Change, Ned volunteers his time to help tackle substance abuse, self-harm, bullying and racism with music, creativity and sport. “I am able to build a good connection with the young people and help educate them on life skills and how to achieve success the right way,” says Ned, who was released from juvenile detention at the age of 17 and was lucky enough to find his own mentor.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Ned is successful, Rap 4 Change will use its grant to start a 10-week leadership program called Ready For Success to create education, employment and life skills opportunities for up to 20 young people at a time.


Rosie Surace

Shalvey Community Centre
Amazing . Dedicated . Beautiful

Rosie Surace believes that everyone deserves to dance, no matter how much money you have. That’s why she volunteers her time to run Shalvey Community Dance for children from disadvantaged and migrant families around Mt Druitt. “Our goal is to run a safe haven for the community and give struggling parents the chance to allow their child to be a part of something amazing,” says Rosie, who is in her final year of an education degree. She took over the studio in 2016 when it had 24 students. Since then, it has grown to 150.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Rosie is successful, Shalvey Community Centre will use its grant to upgrade the centre with new safety gear, mirrors and a better sound system. It will also fund dance shoes, costumes and a great venue for the end-of-year concert.


Recognising all our 2019 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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