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 West Lakes are:

Arman Abrahimzadeh

Zahra Foundation Australia
Influencer. Passionate. Caring

After Arman Abrahimzadeh OAM tragically lost his mother to family violence, he and his sisters set up the Zahra Foundation Australia in her honour. Their vision is to instil hope and optimism in the lives of women and children and to provide financial and educational opportunities. “We help break the cycle of violence by preventing women and their children from returning to their abusive environments. We provide financial counselling, which helps women stay on track,” says Arman. He has received several honours and awards for his role in community education about domestic and family violence.

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 Arman is successful, the Zahra Foundation will use its grant to help fund its existing empowerment programs.


Louanne Johns OAM

Camp Quality
Selfless. Inspiring. Vibrant

Louanne Johns OAM has been helping children with cancer and their families at Camp Quality for almost three decades. She lives the Camp Quality ethos by doing as much as she can to create positive memories, often with grubby new adventures at weekend camps. One of her most important roles is being Camp Leader at Family Camp. This means Louanne helps to plan the two-night, three-day experience for families going through a child’s cancer journey. “I am honoured to be a volunteer at Camp Quality,” says Louanne. “In a terrible time, we give families a chance to be a family.”

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 Louanne is successful, Camp Quality will use its grant to arrange as many camps as possible after COVID-19.


Mae Johnson

Cure4 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Selfless. Determined. Compassionate

Mae Johnson is in Year 12 and has cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system. She is a youth ambassador of the Cure4 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and has raised more than $33,000 for research, most recently by holding Mae’s Tea Party, which 325 people attended. Mae truly shines when she is sharing her story and encouraging others to adopt her positive
approach to managing adversity. But her big hope is a cure. “It would mean we could have the same opportunities as everyone else.

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 Mae is successful, the Cure4 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will use its grant to fund the creation of an awareness and educational video.


Pep Rigano

Australian Company of Performing Arts
Passionate. Compassionate. Dedicated.

Pep Rigano has started a dance revolution at the Australian Company of Performing Arts (ACPA), where he has been a teacher for 12 years. The boys' dance classes he introduced several years ago have normalised dance as something boys can and should do. "It started with five little superstars and has grown to over 150 boys doing dance in our school," he says. "This is enormous and quite a rarity." "I guess what I have designed has encouraged boys to develop themselves, their personalities. It also allows them to feel comfortable and supported."

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 Pep is successful, ACPA will fund a boys focussed event, specialised teacher training to have a greater reach and also advance sign language skills to be able to host classes specifically for deaf or hard of hearing students.


Smiler TeAo

Employment Options Inc
Legend. Role Model. Gigantic-heart

Retired tradesman Smiler TeAo is the kind of wise and caring grandfather figure you want around when you are helping teenagers overcome learning barriers. The big-hearted volunteer has worked with Youth Space at Employment Options for several years – five days a week during school term. He enjoys teaching new skills, and everyone loves having him around. “Kids who haven’t done well at school feel good about themselves when they get a chance to make things and learn skills they see as important, like fixing their bike, working on a motorbike or making a piece of furniture,” Smiler 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 Smiler is successful, Employment Options will use its grant to buy tools, materials and safety equipment.


Ukash Ali Ahmed

Multicultural Communities Council of SA Inc
Inspiring. Tireless. Intuitive

Former refugee Ukash Ali Ahmed has a life story, empathy and passion that enable him to engage with at-risk young people in Adelaide and help them turn their life around. In his three years at the Multicultural Communities Council of SA, he has been instrumental in helping people find jobs, remain in education, return to school, resolve conflicts with parents, become mentors, engage in volunteer roles and connect to the broader Australia community. He is deeply involved in his Somalian community and leads soccer and social activities for young people. He has also completed a degree at Flinders University.

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 Ukash is successful, the Multicultural Communities Council of SA will use its grant to invest in ongoing leadership training programs for young people.


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