Congratulations to Yarra Community Award winners
Wednesday 28 November 2018
Congratulations to all our winners from last night’s Yarra Community Awards for 2018, where we recognised individuals and groups doing amazing work in our community.
Citizen of the Year:
Sussan Chow is our Citizen of the Year for her significant contribution to the Chinese community in Yarra. Sussan is a respected Chinese elder who has volunteered for over 20 years as a leader at the Yarra Chinese Women’s group and the Fitzroy Chinese Association, only recently retiring at age 77.
Sussan is a positive role model in her community through her inclusive leadership and deeply caring for the inclusion and wellbeing of others. Her leadership has helped to keep the Chinese community of Yarra strong for over twenty years, through regular events and activities like arts and crafts, cooking, singing, dancing and exercise. She keeps Chinese cultural traditions alive, is positive, encouraging and inclusive of others. She promotes respect, equality and harmony amongst members, fostering lifelong friendships.
Young Citizen of the Year:
21-year-old Abdul migrated to Australia from Ethiopia in 2007.
In 2013 Abdul established the community-based soccer program Fitzroy Lions after seeing many young (often disadvantaged) young people could not afford to play club soccer. Five years later and Fitzroy Lions has engaged hundreds of culturally diverse young people living in Yarra’s housing estates.
Abdul has participated in Yarra Youth Services programs for over six years, is in his third year of a Bachelor of Accounting and Finance at ACU in Fitzroy and works part-time at Coles Collingwood, where he has pioneered a work experience program for young people. He does this all in his own time, demonstrating his commitment and care to supporting his peers to contribute to society.
Abdul is a respected leader and mentor to other young people in Yarra. Abdul encounters many negative stereotypes that are often cast on young people of colour in our community and he has overcome many personal challenges since moving to Australia. He continues to make a significant positive impact on the lives of many young people in Yarra by helping them find a sense of pride, self-worth and connectedness to the community.
Community Initiative of the Year:
Rotary Club of Richmond
Pictured: Trevor Pang, Vice-President of Rotary Club of Richmond
The Rotary Club of Richmond received this award for their youth services and community and vocational projects that support young people in Yarra. With 37 volunteers, the Rotary Club coordinates over 18 youth projects to support high school students in Yarra across Melbourne Girls College, Fitzroy High School, Richmond High School and Collingwood Secondary College. Some of these enrichment programs focus on the arts, leadership, public speaking, and English as a second language.
The Club also runs the Next Step program – to support and guide socially and economically disadvantaged young people through the transition from school to a first career job. Participants gain insight into their strengths and through work experience opportunities to develop a career focus and achieve their goals. 74% of students find employment or pursue further education.
Contributions to Arts:
Mama Alto received this award for delivering high quality arts experiences to audiences across Yarra and using her talent as a platform to drive social change.
Mama Alto identifies as transgender, a person of colour, a queer person and a person living with disability. Her artistic practice focuses strongly on social inclusion, empowering the marginalised, championing diversity and combatting oppression.
She is a long-time performer at Hares & Hyenas in Fitzroy, The Melba Spiegeltent in Collingwood and she is involved with our annual Leaps and Bounds Music Festival. She has a large following of LGBTIQA+, culturally diverse and mainstream communities in Yarra. She pours copious amount of emotional energy, care and time into her practise, which celebrates inclusion, diversity, visibility and belonging.
Many of her performances in Yarra have been fundraisers for charitable causes including raising over $6,000 for marriage equality. She supports other local emerging artists to pursue their work.
Contributions to Heritage:
Collingwood Historical Society
Pictured: Janet Taylor and Karen Cummings from the Collingwood Historical Society
Collingwood Historical Society received this award for their ongoing contribution to the protection, enhancement and education of Yarra’s heritage.
Since the 1970s, this volunteer group has been teaching the community about the history of Yarra through research, their own publications, hosting talks, history walks, collecting photographs and developing the historical collection in the Collingwood Library.
The society has produced a number of original local publications about Collingwood’s streets, hotels, churches and schools. Their website has a database of more than 100 hotels and 100 notable people in Yarra.
The society undertakes special projects such as installing plaques on important buildings to help passers-by appreciate the significant history of our community.
The members of the Collingwood Historical Society all participate as volunteers, collecting material and preserving memories for the next generation that might otherwise be lost.
Contributions to Sport:
Joan received this award for her outstanding contribution to the Fitzroy Football Club.
For more than 20 years Joan has generously volunteered her time, expertise and service to the club volunteering as an administrator, Fitzroy Auskick coordinator, team manager, secretary, vice-president and president. Joan goes above and beyond in and out of footy season and has played a huge part in the growth of the club and this year’s premiership win. She was also a leader in the introduction and development two major initiatives at the club: introducing women’s teams to the club four years ago and acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and recognising their unique contribution to Australian Rules football and the Fitzroy Football Club.
Joan is the figurehead of the club. She attends and watches over all events, camps and meetings. She treats the club like her second home, making sure the facilities are in pristine condition for everyone to enjoy and preparing ideal conditions for girls and boys to flourish as players. Joan is respected, admired and loved by all.
Contributions to Diversity and Inclusion:
Heather received this award for her tireless, longstanding and invaluable volunteer work with Fitzroy Learning Network and her passionate and continued advocacy for refugee communities and people seeking asylum.
She has been an active member of the Yarra Settlement Forum since the 1990’s, supporting refugees, asylum seekers and new migrants in Yarra. Heather is a strong advocate in raising awareness to the wider community of the barriers new settlers face in Australia and improving their participation and inclusion in community life. She has even opened her own home to those in need.
Heather has improved the lives of many refugees and people seeking asylum in Yarra, helping them fight for a fair go to fulfil their human potential. In all the volunteering Heather does, she acts with compassion, understanding, respect and kindness.