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 St Lukes 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 St Lukes. 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 St Lukes are:
Jill Gibson: Young Men's Christian Association of Auckland Inc
Generous. Community-minded. Caring.
Jill is the Centre Manager for YMCA Mt Albert Community & Leisure Centre. In this role Jill works tirelessly to improve and enrich the lives of people in her community, and to give kids the best possible start in life through programmes ranging from After School Care to community play groups. Over 350,000 community members have visited the Mt Albert YMCA in the past year, and Jill supports and looks out for everyone who walks through its doors. Jill together with the YMCA will use the $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant on its Outreach Programme. This grant will enable recreation programmes to be brought to low income schools in order to provide kids with fun recreation opportunities they would not otherwise have access to. This is a great opportunity for the YMCA to promote health and wellbeing in the community and for kids to get active, develop new skills and learn that exercise is fun.
Micaella Stone: RainbowYOUTH
Caring. Adventurous. Loyal.
RainbowYOUTH is a charitable organisation dedicated to helping young queer and gender diverse (LGBTIQ) people up to the ages of 27 as well as their local communities. Micaella Stone is a lead facilitator for RainbowYOUTH’s under 18 peer support group (GQ) which aims to encourage young people to develop confidence, leadership skills, increase connectedness and community. The work that Micaella does in her peer support group is an important avenue for young people to come together, relax and be themselves in a safe, friendly and social environment. The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would help to cover the cost of training to ensure that volunteers such as Micaella are properly equipped to facilitate peer support groups. The money would also be used to fund staff time in coordinating volunteers and ensure that Micaella and the team can continue their work to encourage young people to be the best versions of themselves.
Patrick Wilkes: Child Cancer Foundation
Determined. Selfless. Compassionate.
Patrick has been associated with the Child Cancer Foundation for more than 15 years and joined as a volunteer after his daughter Eilish was diagnosed with cancer. In 2005, Patrick joined the local connect group eventually becoming the Northern Region Connect Groups’ Chair. Run by volunteers, Connect Groups provide a way for families with a lived experience of child cancer to connect in a peer-to-peer environment that is informal, kind, respectful and supportive. The Personal Development Grants committee, chaired by Pat, provides vital financial assistance to help children and their families in times of need. If awarded the $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant, Pat and the Child Cancer Foundation will split the grant between funding the Connect Group events and Personal Development Grants.
Richard Stanton: 1st Mt Albert, St Jude's Scout Group
Dedicated. Committed. Passionate.
Richard has been a stalwart of Scout’s New Zealand for over 15 years, empowering local youth by building resilience and leadership through outdoor activities and involving them in service for others. By having youth members from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds working together on common goals – planning an expedition, reaching the destination, setting up the camp and making a meal – the children come to recognise everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant would allow Richard to complete much needed renovations to the Scout Den to ensure it remains a safe and suitable place for the community to gather for generations to come.
Stephanie Ireland: Victim Support Auckland West
Caring. Committed. Skilled.
Stephanie is an important member of Victim Support Auckland West. Stephanie and her team provide 24/7 community response, support and advisory services to victims of crime, trauma and loss in the Mt Albert and surrounding areas as they cope through difficult times. If awarded the Westfield Local Heroes grant, Stephanie will use the $10,000 to help recover the expense of training volunteers, which can be approximately $1,100.00 per volunteer. This will ensure all volunteers, new and experienced, continue to receive regular training and supervision on the job and feel encouraged to continue their great work within the local community.
Wendy John: Friends of Oakley Creek
Optimistic, selfless, inspiring
Wendy is the founder of Friends of Oakley Creek. Wendy works tirelessly and strives to achieve the ecological restoration of the polluted, rubbish lined and weed infested water way at Oakley Creek. Wendy believes that connection with nature, through immersion, understanding and actively taking part in its wellbeing, is good for the wellbeing of humans. As a result, a large part of Wendy’s work is educating through community planting days and creating access to this nature for the wider community – to ensure the creek’s vitality for generations to come. Friends of Oakley Creek will use the $10,000 to aid in the upkeep of young natives and erecting educational signage next to key species in the creek to inform and educate the local community.