Tuesday, 23 May 2023
Werriwa Electorate: Volunteers
Every time I attend the Sydney Olympic Park, I'm reminded of the halcyon days back in 2000 when Sydney hosted the best ever Olympics and Paralympics. Apart from the cauldron so famously lit by Cathy Freeman and the stadium itself, the other prominent feature that captures my eye is the forest of poles that record the 74,000 names of those men and women who volunteered their time to make our Olympics and Paralympics run so smoothly. It's an impressive sight and a timely reminder that volunteers were the lifeblood of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics.
The vital work and the spirit of volunteering that were so evident back in 2000 continue today, and, like back in 2000, volunteers continue to be the lifeblood of our local communities. Volunteering, in essence, is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain. Last week was National Volunteer Week, and we should use every day possible to recognise our unsung volunteer heroes. Our community, over the last few years, has endured significant hardship, from lockdowns to floods, and our volunteers have been there supporting us all the way through.
This year I was able to host a morning tea for the recipients of the 2023 Werriwa Volunteer Awards. This is the seventh year I have formally recognised just some of the volunteers in Werriwa. It was really lovely to meet them all and talk about our community needs and how we can encourage more people to volunteer, and to present them with awards as well.
I would like to congratulate Vera, Navya, Tasneem, Bob, Maree, Mira, Adele, Prakruthi, Tracey, Yogs, Rajani, Lorraine, Vijeesh, Vinod, Steven, Suresh and Atenai. Bob Goodall has volunteered for more than 12 years at the Ingleburn Tennis Club. Vera, despite a number of medical issues, serves tirelessly at the Salvation Army op shop at Macquarie Fields. Steven is a member of the Miller Public School P&C and supports fundraisers and provides general support to the school. Tasneem Elzahr is a 15-year-old at Al-Faisal College, Liverpool, and serves her community at the college via Clean Up Australia Day and Iftar dinners. And the list goes on. Maree Harding was recognised for her eight years of work with the Salvation Army, Liverpool, while Yogs Naidoo was similarly recognised for their four years volunteering at the Sallies. Vinod and Suresh are both volunteers at Friends of India Australia—Vinod by assisting with the distribution of RATs, and Suresh by helping the organisation and the community with financial matters. Lorraine Perry has volunteered with Liverpool Quota and as a JP for an amazing 26 years. During this time, she has also worked on community desks for numerous community libraries, as well as at the desk as a JP at the Liverpool Court House. Mira Ibrahim of the Democratic Kurdish Community Centre has been involved in many facets of the organisation and helping their community. Turbans 4 Australia has been fortunate to have Tracey Lynch, who has been a long-time supporter and volunteer. And Adele Jago has been a volunteer and a leading instructor for Search Dogs Sydney Incorporated over the last 12 years. They use their dogs to help find people who are missing. School prefect Atenai Vilai at Miller Technology High School is an active volunteer at his school, a role model in the Pasifika community and a real indication of the youth in Werriwa and just how wonderful they are. Vijeesh of Edmondson Park Malayalee Club is an integral part of the club, which has seen its membership grow from 10 to 80. South Western Sydney Local Health District is fortunate to have Rajani Nayak as a volunteer in palliative care. And finally, it was my pleasure to recognise both Navya and Prakruthi of Sewa Australia. Navya assisted with the Lismore convoy, volunteered during COVID and regularly gives blood and plasma, while Prakruthi is a student who dedicates her time to helping others. Sewa has just celebrated 25 years in our community.
Werriwa volunteers may not be recognised on a pole in Olympic Park, but their contributions are just as significant and important. I look forward to supporting our volunteer organisations for the rest of the year and look forward to the Werriwa awards next year.