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Exceptional local named 2020 Kingston Young Citizen of the Year

17 December 2020

Kingston’s best and brightest young people have been honoured in the 2020 Kingston Youth Awards, which for the first time ever, was held as a live online event.

Up against an impressive pool of nominees, twenty-year-old volunteer Mitchell Sundstrom was selected as the city’s Young Citizen of the Year for his invaluable work, creating a digital archive of Kingston’s history.

Mayor Steve Staikos said five outstanding finalists were shortlisted for Kingston’s annual Youth Awards, which celebrate the positive contribution of young people in Kingston.  The Youth Awards are open to young people aged 12-25 who have a strong connection to Kingston.

“Councillors were impressed with the high calibre of young people working tirelessly to support the community,” Cr Staikos said. “This year we were faced with the difficult task of choosing just one winner as all of our finalists are remarkable young people making a positive difference in their local community.”

Mitchell Sundstrom, who was named Kingston’s Young Citizen of Year, has been volunteering at the Mordialloc College Alumni Association for the last four years, where he has made his mark as its webmaster. The youngest member of the Alumni Association, he has spent countless hours digitising and updating the College Alumni’s website with historical images and documents, to create a state-of-the-art and unique online portal for storing historical records.

Mitchell, who juggles his contributions to the Mordialloc College Alumni Association Committee with full time tertiary studies and a part time job, has also upgraded the security on the College website and regularly writes articles for the Alumni’s Newsletter, Ventured.

“Through his work Mitchell has transformed the website into one of Kingston’s most significant historical resources which is not only useful for the College Alumni, it is a fantastic resource for the wider Kingston community and history lovers alike,” said Cr Staikos. 

The four other finalists for this year’s Youth Awards include Tara Graves and Sarah Carino, the co-founders of ‘Making Waves Earrings’. The local business partners have combined entrepreneurship, design and sustainability into their business model, which safely transforms discarded plastic found strewn on Kingston’s beaches into fashionable and wearable jewellery.

“By working together and combining their unique skills and learnings, these two local entrepreneurs have created an exciting way to recycle and reduce the amount of plastic waste that is found washed into Kingston’s beautiful beaches and the bay,” said the Mayor. 

The other two finalists for the 2020 Kingston Youth Awards were Imogen Kane and Phillip Spathopoulos:

  • Imogen, 20, has provided eight years of invaluable service to the community through her volunteer work at Highett Youth Club. There she worked with young children teaching every Saturday morning helping struggling pupils and those who required individualised training due to learning difficulties. She was awarded the Julie Lindsay Perpetual Shield Award in 2012 and 2014 for her volunteering efforts.
  • During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Phillip Spathopoulos decided to learn how he could assist anyone with mental health issues who needed support. He successfully achieved his accredited Mental Health First Aid certificate, whilst working two jobs, and is now accredited to assist in a number of areas, including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

A large number of spectators took part in the live online 2020 Youth Awards event, which will be made available for viewing on the Kingston Council website: kingston.vic.gov.au.

 

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