Citizen of the Year: Les Norton
Les is a long-term resident of Keilor, having moved to the area in 1975.
As the first local gastroenterologist at the Western Hospital in Footscray, Les saw the need for more local medical services in this field of medicine and as such, lobbied for and created local specialist facilities so that people don’t have to travel to Melbourne for treatment.
He has spent over 30 years restoring the historical Overnewton Castle and has made it available for the community to enjoy.
Les is also an active philanthropist and is a member of the East Keilor Rotary Club, the Keilor Historical Society and the Keilor Life Activities Group. He is highly regarded for his continued support and commitment to the community.
Young Citizen of the Year: Fostin Nshimirimana
Born in Burundi, Fostin has overcome many early challenges in his life to become an exemplary member of the community.
Fostin has been involved in a number of Council initiatives including sitting as a member on the Youth Forum Committee and Youth Participation Forum as part of Council’s Youth Planning Strategy, organisation of the December 2012 Sunshine Youth Forum and now acts as a Peer Consultant for Council.
With a passion for music and dance, he is a founding member of, and one of the key mentors for, the RAP3021 program, where participants write, record and perform their own hip hop music. He also facilitates his own rap program, More Than Words, at Delahey Community Centre.
Fostin is also a part of the hip hop group the St Albans Crew, and has arranged and participated in two local events, 2011 Exposure Event and 2012 Sound of the Streets, showcasing local hip hop talent to the community.
Teacher of the Year: Sylvia Bereens
Sylvia has worked at St. Augustine’s Primary School for 27 years, and has taught in Keilor for over three decades.
Sylvia is recognised and admired for her ability to make students feel good about their efforts and in helping them to strive for excellence. She has kept up to date with technology over the decades and embraces new information communication technologies to ensure students have the best possible learning opportunities.
Sylvia also contributes to the community in a voluntary capacity with a number of organisations including teaching at the Migrant Resource Centre, assisting families in crisis through Kris Care and participation in community choirs.
Community Wellbeing Award: Sunshine Heights Cricket Club
The Sunshine Heights Cricket Club is an all ‘inclusive’ club, providing members of the community regardless of race, sex, financial status or ability with an opportunity to be involved in cricket.
The Club’s success is highly recognised by many organisations including, Cricket Victoria and Australia, the Department of Sport and Recreation, VicHealth and the Australian Sports Commission.
The Club has successfully targeted and incorporated people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities, people with a disability, females, socially disadvantaged backgrounds and those considered to be socially disadvantaged, over many years.
Last year the club achieved a number of excellent outcomes for the community including:
- Expansion of Refugee Integration Program to 28 children, which aims to reduce the barrier of entry to social participation within the community.
- Supported the first Australian Schoolboys’ Team International T20 tournament in Corfu. The team was entirely made up of participants from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds, who made the semi-finals.
- Continued partnership with the Western Tigers (team made up of entirely Sudanese refugees) in the Football Federation of Victoria Metropolitan Mens division.
- Winners of a number of grand finals and the introduction of new teams to the community.
Their inclusive programs have been covered by a number of national media outlets, and have helped to increase awareness of the clubs ‘inclusive’ approach and the benefits bought to the Brimbank Community.
Environmental Achievement Award: University Park Primary School
Over the past 3-4 years, University Park Primary School has implemented a number of environmental programs to educate and engage students in conservation and preservation practices, in addition to the ongoing school curriculum, including:
- Lunchtime environmental group
- In-school water conservation program
- Litter reduction through Nude Food Day
- Planting of a Bush Food Garden and Wildscape Garden
- Creation of a Frog Pond
The school is also committed to a Resource Smart waste model.
Cultural Achievement Award: Gallery Sunshine Everywhere Inc.
Established in 2007, the Gallery Sunshine Everywhere Inc. celebrates their fifth birthday this year.
Gallery Sunshine Everywhere Inc. is a not for profit organisation, run by volunteers, working to engage the wider community to celebrate and raise awareness of the talents of pre-primary, primary and secondary students through exhibitions, projects and e-communications. And, as their name suggests, they don’t have a ‘homebase’ and work everywhere in Sunshine.
Since their establishment, they have worked with dozens of schools and hundreds of students in the delivery of 66 exhibitions to showcase to, and educate the community on, the art of young artists.
Gallery Sunshine Everywhere Inc. commissions works with schools, families and workplaces, and also provides mentoring to young and emerging artists.