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 Southland 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 Southland. 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 Southland are:
Michael Browne: Seaford Primary School
Humility. Compassionate. Inclusive.
Michael Browne is the Principal of Seaford Primary School . Through Michaels leadership and guiding principles Seaford Primary prides itself on being a school of inclusion, where every student is welcome .This is reflected in the enrolment of 154 students with 45 students with additional needs. Michael fought hard to keep gauranteed funding for the Language Unit at Seaford Primary to remain open which has created a legacy for some of the most at risk students to become confident learners.If successful Michael / Seaford Primary will use the $10,000 grant to create a multi purpose sensory space. This space would be used for children to have a calm space to self-regulate promoting a calm peaceful proactive environment .
Sarah Dobbie: TaskForce Community Agency
Passionate. Tireless. Compassionate.
Sarah is TaskForce’s lead youth worker specialising in supporting young people with severe substance dependencies. Reaching out to young people in spaces they feel comfortable, she works to change harmful attitudes and behaviours, supports the development healthy habits, and addresses issues they experience as a result of substance misuse. If Sarah is successful as a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant would contribute to the opening of a brand new space for young people across Melbourne’s Inner South East to socialise and receive the support they need.
Michelle Krueger: Make-a-Wish (Bayside)
Driven. Caring. Dedicated.
As part of the Make-A-Wish Bayside Volunteer Branch, Michelle has worked tirelessly to grant wishes to seriously ill children with life threatening illnesses in the Bayside region for four years. Over this time, Michelle and the Bayside Branch, have granted 23 wishes. As the Fundraising Coordinator of the Bayside, Michelle is involved during all stages of a child’s wish journey; from meeting the child and family to the diligent planning to make each wish perfect. Michelle shows care and passion with each wish she touches. If Michelle is successful as a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant would be used the grant to make more wishes come true.
Cindy Longley: Southern Autistic School
Passionate. Optimistic. Advocate.
Southern Autistic School is a coeducational school for primary and secondary aged students that aspires to be a centre of excellence and a school of first choice in the field of special education for autistic students. Cindy oversees the implementation of the Victorian Curriculum in the classroom and facilitates the pathways programs. If Cindy is successful as a Westfield Local Hero, she and the Southern Autistic School would be able to fund an extensive range of specialist programs for autistic students.
Deb Napolitano: Les Twentyman Foundation
Patient. Persistent. Caring.
The Youth Assist Program is a voluntary program for young people aged between 10-17 years of age. The aim of the program is to support and guide at-risk or vulnerable young people through challenges they face. Deb is the Youth and Community Engagement Coordinator and her role includes: maintaining regular contact with young people, promoting positive social behaviours and problem solving skills. If Deb is successful as a Westfield Local Hero, she and the Les Twentyman Foundation will be able to assist in providing material aid, food, clothing, education resources, medication and accommodation to more young people.
Helen Romanis: Marriott Support Services
Motivational. Engaging. Positive.
Helen assists adults with disabilities to reach their goals by focusing on their ability not their disability. Helen works on the individual strengths and matches those strengths with appropriate support to build skills and independence. Helen volunteers 2 days a week and works closely with individuals to establish basic trust. By volunteering her time, Helen is providing necessary support for people to enhance essential life skills. If Helen is successful as a Westfield Local Hero, she and Marriott Support Services will be able to use the $10,000 grant to further empower people with disabilities to help build their independence and increase community inclusion.
Shaye Woodhouse: SANDS Australia
Selfless. Inspiring. Passionate.
A self-care support hamper, for Mothers and families of pregnancy loss. The hampers are a valuable offering of acknowledgment and an act of compassion to those grieving and to help reassure families that they are not alone during this tragic time. Shaye began making the baskets as a one-woman-show, sourcing the donations and running the program. She has now merged with Sands Australia to distribute locally, and across Australia. If Shaye is successful as a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 grant will enable her and Sands Australia to reach more hospitals across Australia and support the end goal to have a Charlee’s Basket Hamper for every bereaved family within the hospital.