Arriving in Australia as a refugee orphan, Robina overcame incomprehensible challenges through passion and drive to generate change in her community and government. Through her work with Youth Affairs Council of Victoria and Amnesty Victoria, she has given voice to issues faced by young people. The papers she has written have helped influence government policy decisions. Robina’s persistent and selfless advocacy since 2011 makes her a powerful role model for anyone wanting to create a better world for migrants and young people in Australia.
For someone with a cognitive disability or mental illness, meeting the police can be an intimidating experience. It is very reassuring that calm, compassionate and highly skilled volunteers like Cheryl are on hand to put them at ease. As an Independent Third Person and Corrections Independent Support Officer with the Office of the Public Advocate, Cheryl is extremely passionate about safeguarding the rights of people with a disability and this is embodied in the dignified and respectful way in which she carries out both roles.
John has generously and consistently contributed time, knowledge and care to support the wellbeing and education of his fellow Victorians. His broad volunteering reach extends from service as a Justice of the Peace, examination supervisor and mentor for retirees to clinical education assistance and Neighbourhood Watch. As leader of the Royal Melbourne Hospital Justice of the Peace Volunteer Service he raised the profile of the service and made it available five days a week. Highly respected and reliable, John approaches every task with deep care and integrity.
Always ready to listen, Ciara offers tireless commitment to vulnerable people seeking asylum in Victoria. A highly skilled caseworker, advocate and mentor, she works with families in crisis who have a high risk of homelessness, no income, are experiencing food insecurity and have complex mental health concerns. Despite this challenging environment, Ciara manages to consistently provide calm assurance to people when they need it most.
As generous as he is gregarious, Daryl has spent most of his life supporting the community by fundraising for the Returned and Services League and the State Emergency Service, and as a guide for the Shrine of Remembrance. The Vietnam veteran recently organised 150 Saluting their Service certificates to be presented to RSL and community members. Daryl is a born teacher and as Emerald RSL’s representative at speaking events, takes every opportunity to share his encyclopaedic knowledge on our wartime history. Daryl endlessly shows his appreciation for the sacrifices made by successive generations of Australia’s fighting men and women.
Rosemary’s passion for the Essex Heights Netball Club has influenced generations of players, to the extent that year after year they keep coming back, even as adults. It’s been that way for the last 20 years. She is still a regular sight strolling the courts at weekend netball, chatting to everyone, and generally making sure the club continues to go from strength to strength. Rosemary has inspired many people to develop the same love she has for the sport, to enjoy local sports and to stay active, fit and healthy members of the community.
Hue Man’s boldness and belief in marginalised young people has helped stimulate the social purpose of university life. As editor in chief of the Ormond Papers, she has written and supported articles on disruptive topics including mental health and sexual assault on campus – to the extent that the college publication has transformed the way critical issues are now communicated on university campuses. She has also created a wealth of free resources including the online youth forum, Brain Nation Hub and conducted workshops on leadership and work-ready skills. For her contributions, Hue Man was named Young Citizen of the Year by two local councils in Melbourne.
Pat has given the most constant and selfless service to keep Buda, a property of national significance, open to the public since 1981. She has held every role on the committee, supported staff and volunteers, and been a driving force behind the property receiving the Australian Contemporary Silver Awards. Pat warmly welcomes and quietly empowers others to take the lead. While maintaining the Leviny family legacy, she has continually encouraged new ideas and empowered staff and volunteers to enable Buda to become an accredited museum that attracts 8,000 visitors a year.
For more than 21 years, Louise offered every ounce of her compassion and kindness to care for children with life-threatening conditions at the Very Special Kids Hospice in Malvern. The longest serving volunteer at the children’s hospice for respite and end of life care, Louise readily took new volunteers under her wing and created unique experiences for families to connect through journals, photographs, art therapy and events like Remembrance Day. Always patient and gently persistent, Louise provided solace for many families and helped each child she met find joy in every moment.
Meticulous and energetic in equal parts, Lyn Haupt has dedicated herself to enriching Museum Victoria’s Mineralogy Collection for almost 40 years. A true detective, Lyn has scrupulously tracked and registered over 2400 minerals and rocks – from meteorites and tektites to facetted stones from Beechworth. Her particular flair is for tracing mid-19th century mineral collections, such as the Krantz Collection. Lyn’s ongoing passion for the providence of minerals means museum visitors will be able to appreciate these ancient treasures for generations to come.
Exceptionally diligent, Mark has an unwavering commitment and dedication to improving the literacy and confidence levels of students he helps. As a child Mark struggled with literacy at school but he overcame his difficulties through adult learning in the most admirable and inspiring of ways. He even had the courage to appear on an SBS Insight program focused on adult literacy. Mark has shown the same drive, courage and dedication to the students in the class. He worries over each one of the students and goes out of his way to support everyone.
Committed to his Point Leo club for over 60 years, John excels at every aspect of surf lifesaving – as competitor, patroller, treasurer, president, event organiser, fundraiser and archivist. He is driven to ensuring that volunteer lifesavers are properly supported and recognised for their achievements. As competition team manager for 18 years, John continues to apply his proven team approach to everything, and is always ready with fresh ideas for fundraising, recruiting, recognising others and celebrating Point Leo’s illustrious history.
A first-generation migrant from Pakistan, Anam came to Australia as an international student and quickly realised there was so much she could do to help improve opportunities for Australian Muslims. Among many volunteering roles, Anam manages the interfaith portfolio on the Board of the Islamic Council of Victoria and was an AFL Multicultural Ambassador. A staunch believer in female empowerment, she formed a group called Baasila so Muslim women could nominate and vote for quiet, high-achieving Muslim women. The group’s online presence continues to significantly increase awareness of the contribution Muslim women make to Australia.
Geoff never thinks twice about making himself available, dropping whatever he is doing day or night to visit police stations so young people have his support as an Independent Third Person. To date he has attended over 160 callouts and his selfless commitment to the role continues undiminished. Seemingly unflappable, Geoff brings a measured approach to every young person who reaches out to him and is especially mindful of age-related vulnerabilities to make sure each interviewee is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Nigel has been a volunteer member of the CFA for 42 years. He has been awarded the National Medal for diligent service, the National Emergency Medal for his role in the 2009 Victorian fires, life membership of the Mooroolbark CFA and life membership of the CFA. Nigel has held many leadership roles including President of the Mooroolbark CFA and Deputy Group Officer for the Maroondah Group. Nigel not only attends calls and incidents but also provides training, assessing and mentoring for others. Nigel has the ability to motivate and inspire the team to pull together to deliver exceptional service. Throughout his time as a CFA volunteer, Nigel has always shared his knowledge and experience with others generously.
A natural storyteller with a passion for people and military history, Chris has served the local veteran community in the Briagolong area for some 25 years through Legacy and the Returned and Services League. His own health challenges haven’t diminished his enthusiasm for helping however he can. Whether he is selling ANZAC Day badges outside the local shop or holding a pub raffle, every fundraising experience with Chris is entertaining and fascinating in equal measure.
Ravinder has dedicated her life to human welfare and charity, most recently through the Rehmat Sandhu Foundation that she founded after the passing of her son. Through the foundation, she has undertaken diverse volunteer work in Australia and India, including helping the Australian Red Cross program, Red 25, break records in 2018 by contributing more than 30 per cent of blood donations. Ravinder is driven by her strong will to rise above her grief and make a difference to the lives of people in need.
Passionate about helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people in her community, Beryl devotes endless hours of her time to the health and wellbeing of every Meals on Wheels client she visits. For more than 26 years she has brought light, laughter and conversation to solitary lives. Beryl is always ready for a chat but is equally protective of people’s confidentiality. Forever respectful and dependable, her greatest skill is bringing isolated people back into the fold of the Nunawading community.
Ric’s knowhow, experience and mentoring skills honed over 40 years have made an inestimable contribution to developing lifesaving volunteer officials in Victoria. His recent achievements include restructuring training processes for new officials and implementing an all-important mentor program. Also, thanks to Ric, 100 new volunteer officials were trained and accredited this season so the Junior State Championships could be held with over 120 accredited officials. Ric’s dedication and drive has boosted the sport at every level.
A typical image of Tim is seeing him walking in the back gate at the Good Samaritan Inn with timber in one hand and a tin of home baked biscuits in the other. A handyman with endless talents, he will stay until the job is done or be straight back the next day with the necessary tools. Tim is a welcome part of the landscape and a positive male role model in a sensitive environment.
Humble and tireless, Bev’s longstanding involvement in emergency services for the Red Cross has helped many people manage much better in times of crisis. She works her way consistently through problems, supports clients and always puts her hand up for the hardest jobs. Whether she is working as patient transport convener, divisional advisory board member or regional zone chairperson, Bev has a knack of rallying those around her to generate lasting change.
Kevin is the soul and conscience of the plumbing industry in Victoria and the embodiment of the Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia motto – expert, committed and professional. He was part of the executive committee for 13 years and continues as the association’s vice president to this day. A quiet force in the plumbing industry, Kevin has selflessly served, taught, mentored, improved and led the industry since he joined in 1960.
Kerry is the calm, kind centre of an environment where people can sometimes seem distressed. Her ease with carers’ accommodation guests helps settle heightened emotions when people are booking in, as she gently talks them through the process and offers helpful hints to make them feel most comfortable. A dedicated volunteer at Anam Cara House for many years, Kerry trains other volunteers with professionalism and is always ready to go the extra mile.
For 25 years as a volunteer with Motor Neurone Disease Association Victoria, Cynthia has quietly supported sufferers and their families without any expectation of recognition. Over the years her calm manner has helped sustain clients and staff. For many years Cynthia was the face and voice of the MND Eastern Support Group and now, as a bereavement call volunteer, she makes follow-up calls to family members three months after their loved one has died of MND. Cynthia’s gentle patience encourages people to talk freely and reassures them that they are remembered and supported.
Creating new ways to enrich communities comes naturally to Reyzl. Whether she is mentoring Jewish people through SKIF youth group or encouraging them to sing in the Mir Kumen On Yiddish Choir – Melbourne’s only Yiddish language choir that she helped co-found. Among many volunteering roles, Reyzl leads the Jewish Labour Bund’s youth advisory board and as AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador founded the AFL Jewish Schools Cup (2015) in conjunction with AFL Victoria and St Kilda Football Club. Thanks to Reyzl’s dedication to making this event a reality, religious Jewish girls and boys can now enjoy community football.