2007 State Winners
The NSW Volunteer of the Year State winners (State, Senior, Youth and Corporate) were announced at a ceremony at Sydney's Parliament House on December 5, International Volunteer Day. The Centre for Volunteering and the Minister for Volunteering, the Hon Linda Burney, congratulate State winners Mary, Laurie and Amanda!
The Centre for Volunteering is proud to announce the 2007 State winners will represent the Award as 2008 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award Ambassadors.
NSW Volunteer of the Year, Mary Mamour of Blacktown
In 2004, some young African migrants, many of whom arrived from refugee camps in Sudan, settled in Blacktown but were having trouble with initial settlement issues. The local police command recognised the difficulties and contacted the South Sudan Community Organisation in NSW. Mary Mamour volunteered herself as a liaison officer and was instrumental in forming the Sudanese Action Group. She became a shining light for many new refugees, particularly those without parents or leaders. She has been immensely successful in finding work, advocating for the refugees’ needs, ensuring that services are provided and breaking down barriers with authorities. Her referee, Shaun Edwards, says: Mary has had to overcome resentment of some of her own people, the community in general, racial comments regarding her origin and the stark differences in her own cultural background to that of modern Australia to achieve the results she has."
NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year, Laurie Smith of Port Macquarie
Laurie Smith has been a volunteer with Aunties and Uncles for more than 23 years, mentoring disadvantaged children. He and his wife Barbara have made a commitment of 12 months to each child they are linked to, but remain in touch with many who have moved away. Laurie speaks with passion about the need for mentoring and support for boys in particular who need the guidance and support of a positive male role model in the absence of an appropriate father figure. His nominator, Rose George, says: "His personal qualities of drive, enthusiasm, commitment and hard work are conveyed to those he comes into contact with and are a wonderful example to the three boys he has delighted to watch grow into young men."
NSW Youth Volunteer of the Year and NSW Corporate Volunteer of the Year, Amanda Grant of Cronulla
Amanda has captured the hearts and minds of "tradies" by instigating and founding the Tradies Community Service Volunteer Program. Formed in 2006, the program formalises support for people in times of need. Her efforts have raised funds within the Sutherland Shire by tradespeople for organisations such as the Salvation Army and the Heart Foundation. She also organised a Tradies' Challenge fun run, with the proceeds being donated to the Minerva Street School for children with multiple and complex disabilities. The program now has six local volunteering partnerships. Her nominator, Jolleen Thompson says: "With the current Generation Y described as self-focussed and existential, Amanda's quality in a young volunteer is both rare and exceptional."