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 Sydney. 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 Sydney are:

Jane Horvath

Newtown Neighbourhood Centre
Enthusiastic . Driven . Passionate

When Jane Horvath took a year’s sabbatical from her career to volunteer fulltime, she offered her services to Newtown Neighbourhood Centre. She grabbed the opportunity to set up Newtopian Outreach, which trained 20 locals to engage with and support rough sleepers. Thanks to Jane’s pioneering work, community harmony has improved, and fear and stigma have been reduced. Now, other similar projects are planned. Jane says being an outreacher has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her life. “I have connected with my community of 20 years in a deeper and more authentic way.”

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 Jane is successful, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre will use its grant to replicate Newtopian Outreach in other areas. This will increase Sydney’s capacity to assist people experiencing homelessness more effectively.


Jessica Brown

Life Changing Experiences Foundation
Selfless . Passionate . Inspirational

As a high school teacher, it broke Jessica Brown’s heart to see students struggling with childhood trauma and falling through the cracks. Jessica was determined to stop the cycle and made many personal sacrifices as she went about setting up the Life Changing Experiences Foundation and the SISTER2sister mentoring program in 2003. SISTER2sister offers intensive one-on-one support for teenage girls in need of a positive female role model and helps empower them to reach their potential. Jessica has helped more than 550 girls over the past 16 years and is always available after they have graduated.

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 Jessica is successful, SISTER2sister will use its grant to cover the cost of training 11 mentors to help young women in the program. All mentors undergo extensive trauma and risk management training to ensure a safe, stable and positive experience for the Little Sisters.


Kai Noonan

ACON
Passionate . Committed . Compassionate

Kai Noonan is a rare advocate for people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community who experience domestic and family violence. She has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and develop resources since 2015 when she started managing a project on behalf of LGBTIQ advocate organisation ACON.She says LGBTIQ people are as likely, if not more likely, than people in the general population to be involved in an abusive intimate or family relationship, but they often don’t know where to find help. This is something Kai wants to change.

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 Kai is successful, ACON will use its grant to set up support and intervention groups for LGBTIQ survivors of sexual, domestic and family violence.

Ahead of Wear it Purple Day on August 30, we interviewed Kai Noonan about growing up in the LGBTIQA+ community and why awareness days like this are so important. Find out more >


Kate Manton

Settlement Services International
Dedicated . Kind . Enthusiastic

Kate Manton’s passion for diversity and inclusion makes her a perfect volunteer ambassador for the Welcome2Sydney project. Welcome2Sydney is run by Settlement Services International and helps new arrivals feel connected to the city and improves their self-confidence and social wellbeing. Kate is a driving force behind the project and has taken on the role of public spokesperson. She has personally helped more than one hundred refugees and other newcomers practice their English and form meaningful connections. “Being an ambassador has opened my eyes to the struggles faced by new arrivals,” says Kate.

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 Kate is successful, Settlement Services International will use its grant to fund public transport costs and the cost of entry to events that promote community connection.


Vivian Stavis

Lillian Howell Project
Inspirational . Passionate . Caring

Vivian Stavis had been the manager of the Lillian Howell Project (Lillian’s) for only a year when state reforms cut off funding. Fearful for the vulnerable young women in her care, Vivian led a campaign that convinced the government to backtrack. Four years later, Lillian’s is going strong, providing supported housing for up to 11 teenagers at a time. They learn how to lead fulfilling lives and are helped to heal from sexual abuse, neglect, homelessness or family violence. “Lillian’s allows the girls to follow their dreams and to rewrite their future,” says Vivian.

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 Vivian is successful, Lillian’s will use its grant to run workshops on wellbeing and resilience for 100 vulnerable young girls and women. Activities will teach the girls to thrive mentally and socially, help them to be more safe and secure within themselves and enhance their self-esteem.


Will Hawes

Will2Live
Selfless . Dependable . Driven

Will Hawes hit rock bottom seven years ago, living in his mum’s garage, in debt and addicted to drugs. When he was ready to turn his life around, he could not find work. But he was grateful for the support he had and started giving back. He would make healthy sandwiches at his mums and walk the streets, handing them out along with a piece of fruit and water. That humble start turned into Will2Live, which now serves more than 700 hearty meals a week and holds mass support events for vulnerable people in Sydney.

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 Will is successful, Will2Live will use its grant to buy a second vehicle to expand the service to new areas and to stock up on basic necessities and food for distribution.


Recognising all our 2019 nominees

View all of the nominees and their organisation

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