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City of Kingston Citizen of the Year Awards announced

26 January 2015

Leading community members have been honoured at the 2015 Citizen of the Year Awards, held at Kingston Council’s annual Australia Day Breakfast on Monday January 26 at the Kingston City Hall.

Four awards were announced on Australia Day - Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Community Group of the Year and Young Community Group of the Year.

Presenting the Awards, Mayor Geoff Gledhill said each of the award winners had tirelessly served the Kingston community.  “Thanks to their efforts our community is more connected and supportive and we thank them and commend them for their good work.”

Citizen of the Year  – Mr Charlie Mizzi

For over 20 years, Charlie Mizzi, 68 of Clarinda, has inspired others in the community with his leadership and energy through a wide range of community groups.

His tireless efforts and dedication have helped support families with sick children, made the community safer, developed local parks and given the local community a voice.  

His voluntary involvement has included:

  • Ronald McDonald House Committee (21 years)
  • Oakleigh and Clarinda Village Committee (20 years)
  • Neighbourhood Watch (20 years)
  • parks maintenance
  • strengthening Clayton and Clarinda Committee
  • Senior Citizens
  • Avicultural Society of Australia (40 years).

“Charlie Mizzi epitomises the selfless attitude of so many of our active community volunteers.  He does a fabulous job year in, year out and is actively involved in a number of community groups in Kingston, and in the wider community. He is truly a person to admire and is a worthy recipient of the 2015 Citizen of the Year,” Mayor Geoff Gledhill said.

Young Citizen of the Year –  Ms Carrie Ewin

Carrie Ewin has helped hundreds of local seniors learn valuable computer skills through local community centres.

She was the driving force behind Longbeach Place securing one of only four Victorian Government grants to deliver a Digital Literacy Project for Seniors.

Carrie has been involved with Longbeach Place since 2008 as a student, volunteer, tutor and facilitator.

She is also a volunteer leader at the Chelsea PC Support Group, assists at the Cheltenham Community Centre’s computer classes for people with acquired brain injury and has served as secretary of the Godfrey Street Community House.

“It’s wonderful that such an impressive young person dedicates so much of her spare time to helping seniors in our community become more connected to the digital world.  Many older people feel intimidated by new technology but Carrie is helping introduce them to the digital age in a simple and friendly manner,” Mayor Geoff Gledhill said.

Community Group of the Year  – Friends of Braeside Park

Over the past 25 years the Friends of Braeside Park group has successfully reclaimed and revegetated a former quarry, equestrian and sewerage centre – transforming them into a native heathland and wetlands.

In that time the number of park rangers on site has decreased from 15 to 4, and the Friends of Braeside Park group helps fill this gap.

Its work includes:

  • park planning and development
  • tree planting
  • seed collection and plant propagation
  • bird counting
  • salinity monitoring
  • water quality testing
  • monitoring bats and possums.

“This dedicated volunteer group has given up their time and hard work over many years to preserve and enhance this vital environmental and ecological part of Kingston.  Without their efforts thousands of people who visit the park each year would not be able to enjoy this showpiece park,” Mayor Geoff Gledhill said.

Young Community Group of the Year – Mentone Ski Krew (MSK)

MSK developed out of a need of the Mentone Life Saving Club to retain membership in the 15- to-18-years age group. The group embraces non-conventional means, including social media, to build a sense of belonging and participation.

What started with just a handful of members two years ago has now grown to around 30-40 regular members with a strong culture of belonging and volunteering.

MSK developed its own range of clothing, beach and swimwear to sell for fundraising and has held two alcohol and drug-free fundraising events that attracted more than 500 young people.

“These young people, who have already taken on a role of responsibility as lifesavers, have taken it a step further.  The MSK group provides a positive place for young people to belong and thrive and I commend the young people involved who are exemplary role models in our community,” Mayor Geoff Gledhill said.

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