Thank you for voting for your Westfield Local Hero

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Thank you for voting for your Westfield Local Hero

We congratulate all of our finalists and recognise the important contribution they make to the local community. The successful Westfield Local Heroes will be announced on 27 October.

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 2020 nominees for every Westfield centre. Each of the affiliated organisations of the successful heroes will be awarded a $10,000 grant to support their work to thrive. Westfield will award 126 grants across Australia and New Zealand – totalling $1.26 million.


Your finalists for Westfield Parramatta are:

Alison Jones

Accessible Diversity Services Inc
Motivated. Compassionate. Genuine

Alison Marie Jones works with newly arrived refugee youth and goes above and beyond to help them access employment and education opportunities in Australia. Starting a refugee Learn to Swim school is not in Alison's job description, but it is one of her many standout achievements. The program provides Islamic girls with a private and safe space to learn to swim, socialise and improve their physical and emotional wellbeing. It also caters for boys. Several students have trained as swimming instructors, and 14 have been employed so far. For most, it is their first job in Australia.

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 Alison is successful, Accessible Diversity Services will use its grant to make the swim school sustainable and to buy burkinis for those who cannot afford them.


Elise Kellett

The Y (YMCA)
Committed. Passionate. Engaged

Thanks to Elise Kellett, troubled young people are finding their path to a more positive future. Elise runs youth programs at The Y (YMCA), including outreach for young people dealing with homelessness, mental health issues or those who have come to the attention of the police. One of her great achievements is a leadership group in which young people create events for others their age. This allows Elise to work closely with them on skills that will help them find jobs. "I walk alongside young people, never in front, allowing them to feel empowered, inspired and learn valuable skills."

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 Elise is successful, The Y will use its grant to fund youth-led events in Parramatta, including leadership workshops.


Jason Sotiris

Supertees
Caring. Dedicated. Helpful

Tradie Jason Sotiris is giving thousands of sick children a boost with free medical-grade superhero garments to replace their hospital gowns. Not only do Jason's Supertees help the children tap into their internal superpowers, but they are carefully designed to make life easier for bedside parents and nurses. Jason came up with the idea when his baby daughter was seriously ill in Westmead Children’s Hospital with a rare type of cancer. The Supertees are MRI compatible and have side studs to make changing easy and openings for tubes. "We aim to help little heroes fight the big battles," says Jason.

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 Jason is successful, Supertees will use its grant to take the volunteer program to the next level.


Kevin McSweeney

Michael Hughes Foundation
Selfless. Dedicated. Hardworking

Parramatta Citizen of the Year Kevin McSweeney oversees one of the largest and busiest ambulance stations in NSW. He is also a founding director of the Michael Hughes Foundation, a Parramatta-based not for profit whose mission is to turn bystanders into first responders in cardiac arrest emergencies. Kevin is committed to giving members of the community the confidence and skills to directly save another person's life by teaching them to perform CPR and use a defibrillator. "Showing the correct techniques and allowing people to practise CPR gives them the confidence to help another person."

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 Kevin is successful, the Michael Hughes Foundation will be able to buy additional high-quality child and adult mannequins to demonstrate CPR techniques and will upgrade its IT system.


Louise Borg

Make-A-Wish Australia
Resilient. Inspiring. Determined

Louise Borg has been a dedicated and empathetic volunteer for the western Sydney branch of Make-A-Wish since it started 18 years ago. Over the years, she has brought joy to many families and children with serious illnesses by pulling out all the stops to fulfil their wish. Louise has continued volunteering despite the demands of raising two children. The wishes have a profound impact on children and she hopes to be volunteering for the next 40 years. “My aim is to be the longest serving volunteer in all of Australia one day,” Louise 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 Louise is successful, Make-A-Wish Australia will use its grant to fund wishes.


Sue Wood

ROSE Charity Inc
Selfless. Public-spirited. Compassionate

Former teacher's aide Sue Wood hasn't just raised funds for much-needed school buses for students with disabilities – she also gets behind the wheel to drive them on excursions. It's just one of the many ways Sue helps students at the William Rose School over the past 26 years, since co-founding the ROSE Charity to raise funds for the school. Thanks to Sue's passion, the children have iPads, a playground, a sensory garden, interactive classroom equipment and air-conditioning. Among the most valued contributions are four school buses to take the students on excursions and to activities including swimming and work experience.

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 Sue is successful, the ROSE Charity will use its grant to help fund a playground upgrade.


If you need support, please phone Lifeline: 13 11 14

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