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 Whitford 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 Whitford City. 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 Whitford City are:
Neil Atkinson: Ocean Heroes
Compassionate. Friendly. Patient.
Neil works as a volunteer at Ocean Heroes, an organisation that aims to enhance the lives of those living with autism through surfing. Neil’s passion is to help those with autism and their families to enjoy the beach the way all Australians do, and he works tirelessly to assist with event logistics, instructing and fundraising. The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would contribute towards a long-wheel base van that will help to transport large surfboards and gazebos used for surfing events.
Greg Hire: A Stitch in Time
Humble. Selfless. Passionate.
Greg is the vice-captain of the Perth Wildcats and the founder of A Stich in Time, a non-for-profit organisation that targets at-risk-youth through basketball. Greg coaches weekly workshops and clinics as a means to engage and educate youth via team sport. The participants are also given opportunities to mentor or teach other kids which in-turn helps to develop leadership skills and a sense of purpose. The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would assist in extending the mentoring program to more communities around Perth, and contribute to costs of transportation, equipment and logistics.
Vincent Pettinicchio: Rotary Club of Hillarys
Kind. Dedicated. Humble.
In 2013, at the age of seven, Vincent decided to help the homeless of Perth by providing them with packs of toiletries and comfort items. Now aged 12, each year Vincent enlists the help of the community to raise the funds he needs to make the packs and then brings volunteers together to ready the bags for distribution. Since 2013, 4,075 packs have been provided to the homeless of Perth and surrounding areas. If selected as a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would contribute to purchasing items for the packs including pillows, towels, blankets, toothbrushes and feminine hygiene items.
Melissa Porteus: Youth Futures
Passionate. Dedicated. Commited.
Melissa has been the driving force behind NEST, a program that aids mothers who are already experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness, to maintain custody of their infant. The program provides single dwelling accommodation and intensive support to teenage mothers and their infants. Since commencing the program in 2008, Melissa has successfully helped over 400 young women maintain custody of their baby. If selected as a Westfield Local Hero, the $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would be spent on the ongoing NEST program including facilitating two support workers, administrative costs and training.
Jan Standen: Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren
Passionate. Dedicated. Altruistic.
Jan Standen is the Vice President of Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren, a charity that offers support services to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren on a full-time basis. In most instances, grandparents become full time caregivers because of traumatic events or family breakdowns due to drug and alcohol abuse, violence, neglect, mental illness, imprisonment or death. Given the fact they are often elderly and pensioners, grandparents require support in their new role, which is what Jan and the team at Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren aim to provide. The $10,000 Westfield Local heroes grant would assist in providing respite for grandparents and entertainment for kids through retreats, family picnics and school holiday activities.
Sian Williams: Kidzucate
Inspirational. Determined. Vibrant.
In 2012, at 6 years of age, Sian founded Kidzucate after she was bullied for having a stutter. Realising that kids learn better through other kids, Sian took a stand on anti-bullying by creating online videos and school programs that address the impact of bullying and offer mentoring support. In 2014, Sian was invited by the Youth for Human Rights to attend their Youth Summit in Brussels and was awarded a Human Rights Hero Award. Now aged 11, Sian aims to extend her program to the broader community. The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would contribute to training more children to become Kidzucate child advocates.