Today’s fifth annual Coral McLean Awards breakfast was an incredible celebration of all the women who do so much to build up and help others in our community.
This was the biggest ever turnout for the awards, with nearly 100 people joining me to recognise all of this year’s award nominees – a record 17 hard-working people were put forward.
Journalist and presenter Tracey Spicer was the perfect special guest for this year’s awards. She is an out-spoken advocate for women and is known for her passion for social justice and equality – all qualities that were demonstrated in spades through the community work of our nominees.
All proceeds raised from the breakfast went to a $4000 contribution to help the Mount Druitt Ethnic Communities Agency “Girl SKILZ” program, which targets young women aged 14-16 who are experiencing family breakdown or are at risk of being engaged in the juvenile justice system.
The 2017 Coral McLean Award went to Leonie Day.
Leonie has been more than just a teacher and assistant principal at Marayong Public School. For almost 40 years, she’s been a friend and a shoulder to lean on for many students and families.
Leonie has provided meals and access to support services for many in the school community. Now as the school’s longest serving teacher, Leonie has decided she’s calling it a day and retiring this year.
Other women recognised today, include:
- Chifley Woman of the Year – Firdousi Obeidullah.
Not only has Firdousi helped many women and families transition into the community she has also assisted in numerous cases of domestic violence. Firdousi co-ordinates a service that educates women from the subcontinent and Fiji about their rights and how to deal with issues of domestic violence.
- Chifley Young Woman of the Year – Lauren Barrientos.
Lauren migrated to Australia with her family when she was just a one year old. At MECA Lauren works with some of the most disadvantaged members of our community helping in every way she can by volunteering as a Homework Support Tutor. She is also a peer support leader at her high school.
- MP Recognition Award – Lynette Cameron.
For over 20 years, Lynette has been a dedicated member of the Tregear P&C and the Tregear Festival Committee. I have seen personally the amount of work and effort Lynette puts in to helping Tregear and our wider community. On many occasions I would bump into Lynette raising money for the Festival.
- Judges Recognition Award – Carlene Allen.
Sister Carlene has been involved with Mt Druitt and District Reconciliation Group for many years. She was instrumental in the success of the Annual Apology Commemoration, Reconciliation Walk and Concert and the long-standing Learning and Yarning circles.
I would like to thank Mt Druitt TAFE Create Restaurant for hosting the awards and the hospitality students for preparing and serving a wonderful breakfast for us all. We were superbly entertained by a Chifley College Bidwill Campus student’s musical performance.
Recognition awards were given to:
- Carlene Allen, Mt Druitt and District Reconciliation Group.
- Stacey Aramoana, Street University.
- Lauren Barrientos, Mount Druitt Ethnic Community Agency.
- Monica Basta, St Bishoy Coptic Orthodox College.
- Lynette Cameron, Tregear Festival.
- Leonie Day, Marayong Public School.
- Nicole Farrant, Midnight Basketball.
- Amie Hope, Mount Druitt Ethnic Community Agency.
- Nelum Hyacinth Joachim, Kids Early Learning Marayong Child Care Centre.
- Barbara Kenny, Wash House.
- Heba Masood, The Australian Arabic Association of Western Sydney.
- Sparrow Love McCarthy, Reach Foundation.
- Hasret Mehmedali, Blacktown North Public School.
- Firdousi Obeidullah, Women’s Support Centre – House of Sakinah.
- Sandra Pereira, Bidwill Uniting Church.
- Julie Tuvai, Pearls of the Pacific Women’s Support Group.
- Shandana Usman, Community in Fellowship Together.