The winner of the 2015 Coral McLean Award never expected to receive such recognition – because she never thought she would last long in the emotionally challenging area of social work.
Ignoring the warnings about how tough her new job would be, Graceades Community Cottage’s Ivanka Pelikan pressed ahead – and nearly ten years later has remained in Bidwill, helping meet the needs of the suburbs’ families and young people.
“I was warned that it would be a difficult job when I first started in the community development sector, but working at Graceades has been so rewarding, and I can honestly say that I love my job and the people I work with,” Ms Pelikan said.
The Awards are an annual event organised by Chifley Federal MP, Ed Husic, and are named in honour of Coral McLean, “the mother of Mt Druitt”, who dedicated herself to the service of women and youth in the Mt Druitt area until her passing in 2011.
“Ivanka’s selflessness and passion for Bidwill residents is not only well known – but much admired. She was a standout choice for this year’s Coral McLean Award,” said Mr Husic.
“So many women in our area quietly go about the hard task of helping people in great need. They don’t ask for recognition – but their stories deserve to be told.”
Besides recognising the achievements of local women helping improve the lives of others, this year’s ceremony also raised $2,000 for Doonside’s West Connect Domestic Violence Services support group.
Founder of the Glendenning District Girl Guides, Meredith Wilson, received the Chifley Woman of the Year Award for her service with the Girl Guides and Blacktown Council Senior Citizens. Athmar Alshimmery was awarded Young Chifley Woman of the Year for volunteering at the Halinda School and for her work with The Australian Arabic Association of Western Sydney.