The 2011 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award coincided with International Year of the Volunteer Plus 10 (IYC+10). The NSW Excellence in Volunteer Management Award for not-for-profit organisations demonstrating excellence in volunteer management, was created to celebrate IYV+10 and was made possible with a donation from the Hon. Victor Dominello. Congratulations to Bathurst Information and Neighbourhood Centre (BINC), winner of this Award.

The outstanding level of professionalism of last year’s 24 nominees for the 2011 NSW Excellence in Volunteer Management Award highlighted to both The Centre and Hon. Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Member for Ryde and NSW Volunteer of the Year Award Patron, for the need to make this award category an integral part of the annual award program. In 2012 the Excellence in NFP Volunteer Management Award will be permanently added to the suite of award categories.

2011 was the fifth year the NSW Volunteer of the Year Award has been run. It is closer than ever reaching The Centre for Volunteering’s goal to individually recognise each and every one of the two plus million volunteers in NSW through the NSW Volunteer of the Year Award. In 2011 the Award received 350 nominations totalling 5,275 volunteers throughout the State!

2011 NSW Volunteer of the Year Ralph Naden
Balladoran’s Ralph Naden has been named the 2011 NSW Volunteer of the Year in recognition of his dedication to indigenous youth at a prestigious function held at Parliament House on Monday, 5 December 2011 International Volunteer Day.

Ralph saw the need for someone to mentor and teach young Indigenous people about their culture and keep them busy and out of trouble, Ralph bought a property at Balladoran where he built his home created a “camp” for Aboriginal youth, all at his own expense. His “camp” is a place of learning which he named “Yalmambirra Boogijoon Doolan” translated it means “To Teach the Little Sand Goanna”.

Accepting no Government funding, he built showers, toilets an outdoor camp kitchen and various other structures he felt necessary to work with and teach Aboriginal Youth.

They are mostly young people from troubled homes who need direction – youth from the Juvenile Justice System, some of whom are on Probation or Parole as well as children who are simply on School Excursions. They come from as far away as Cobar, Dubbo, Wellington, Coonamble, Nyngan, some come for a day others camp for a week.

Ralph structures his programmes to suit each individual group or child. Sometimes it’s as simple as a Culture walk, or it could mean camping in a tent for the duration of their stay. If it’s a child in crisis Ralph and his wife Audrey take them into their home until the immediate problem is settled. Whatever the reason and time frame, Ralph hopes that each goes away having learned about respect, the bush and land around them and of the old aboriginal way of life.

Ralph has gone on to work with youth from the schools in Gilgandra, Uniting Care Burnside, Mission Australia and liaise with Gilgandra’s Aboriginal Youth Worker who is attached to Gilgandra Police Station.

In addition to his camp, Ralph actively joins in the wider community’s Australia Day Celebrations telling his stories, dance, song and the playing of the didgeridoo. He regularly visits the two Hostels for the aged in Gilgandra to entertain Residents. He is one of the leaders of Nadoc week celebrations in Balladoranand readily attends any function he is asked to. Through his involvement with Gilgandra’a Youth Club Ralph takes Aboriginal Youth on a yearly bus trip to Sydney for one of the main games of Rugby Union being played. He regularly takes his team of young Aboriginal Dancers to dance at the Opera House, Nadoc week celebrations in other regions.

Like his Grandfather before him who was minister who built his own church, Ralph has chosen a path of service and giving to others, his ministry is to the young. He has funded his work from his own earnings taking nothing from Governments. Starting small Ralph has built his dream of a youth culture camp from the sheer determination to help the youth of his race find a better way of life. Ralph Naden is building a legacy for Aboriginal youth in Gilgandra and elsewhere that will be remembered for many years to come. Through his work Ralph has reduced the youth crime rate in Gilgandra, and has given many young people a future to look forward to.

Ralph is a deserving winner of the Award for his tireless dedication to troubled indigenous youth, Lynne Dalton, CEO, The Centre for Volunteering, said. Volunteers are the bedrock on which local communities sit, and these Awards provide a rare opportunity for us to thank the people who work day in and day out to better our communities.

Ralph received a $1,500 NFP donation, a trophy and a prize pack.

2011 NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year Margaret Hardy
Margaret Hardy of Saratoga was named the 2011 NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year Award. Margaret has volunteered with the Central Coast Art Society for the past 37 years as well as innumerable hours with another ten organisations each week. Margaret is the President and Secretary of the Central Coast Art Society. As well as being a committed member and driving force behind the Central Coast Art Society, Margaret is also: a member of the Gosford Regional Gallery Advisory Committee, Secretary of Multi Arts Confederation and Friends of Caroline Bay Inc editor of their monthly magazine, Secretary of the Gosford Sister City Organisation (she was unable to attend the Ceremony as she was visiting Gosford’s sister city Edogawa, Japan), committee member of Performing Arts Precinct, President/Secretary of the Kincumber School of Arts, a volunteer at Radio 5-0-Plus, member of Central Coast Enviro Network, member of the Central Coast Disability Network and member of International Women’s Day Organisation – all while caring for her disabled son who was injured in a hit and run accident. Margaret received a $1,000 NFP donation, trophy and prize pack.
2011 NSW Youth Volunteer of the Year Loki Ball
Loki Ball of Broadway was named the 2011 NSW Youth Volunteer of the Year for his outstanding work with a range of community, youth and education organisations, undertaking a range of tasks, including: Founding Director of Sydney Youth, Chair of the Australian Red Cross NSW International Humanitarian Law, Group Manager (Legal Services) of Sydney Homeless, Founding Committee Member of the UTS Brennan Justice and Leadership Program, Equity Director of the UTS Law Students’ Society, Director of the UTS Advocacy and Human Rights Committee, Committee Member of the UTS Faculty of Law Widening Participation Group, Volunteer at the Matthew Talbot Hostel for Homeless Men, Volunteer with the City of Sydney Council Homelessness Unit, Aboriginal Legal Access Program Coordinator with Community Legal Centres NSW, and Paralegal with Redfern Legal Centre. Loki has consistently demonstrated a commitment to voluntary service, youth engagement and social inclusion. Typically, Loki volunteers between 38 and 42 hours per week, whilst studying part time. Loki’s unparalleled commitment is truly inspirational and a testament to his character. Loki received a $1,000 NFP donation, trophy and prize pack.
2011 Corporate Volunteer of the Year Richard High
Richard High of St Ives is the 2011 NSW Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award which recognises volunteers who are sponsored by their employers and released from employment to carry out volunteer activities. Richard, who is employed by One – Path ANZ Wealth, was recognised for his volunteer work with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Richard has been involved in a number of programs in a volunteer capacity with Cerebral Palsy Alliance over the last 10 years. Richard has always had an active role in promoting a fundraising and participating in the Blackmore’s Bridgerun coordinating between 20-40 volunteers from his company to volunteer by pushing children and young adult clients of Cerebral Palsy Alliance in their wheelchairs for the last 10 years. More recently Richard has become an official Community Champion helping to promote volunteering and corporate engagement with Cerebral Palsy Alliance. While participating in this role, Richard has also participated as a volunteer mentor in the Ignition Youth Mentoring Program working with a young 19 year old with cerebral palsy. Richard received a trophy and prize pack.
2011 Volunteer Team of the Year Broadmeadow's Samaritans Friendship House
The team’s two volunteer coordinators and nine volunteer members assist the House’s four week accommodation and support program for men exiting prison. To implement a client’s action plan a volunteer and car is allocated each Monday to Friday to assist clients to work through their plan. Team members ring the clients each evening to arrange the next day’s activities. These activities include Parole, Centrelink, Housing NSW, Doctors, and Programs, obtaining clothing, food or just a cuppa. Volunteers follow a planned approach in phoning previous clients for follow up support and are in contact with some clients after three or four years. The Team received a $1,000 donation for Samaritans Friendship House, trophy and prize pack.
2011 NSW Excellence in NFP Management Award Bathurst Information and Neighbourhood Centre (BINC)
BINC’s volunteers are an integral part of its service delivery. Volunteers are involved in LEAP, TAX help, computer tutoring, Migrant Refuge Mentoring, Data Entry, collating statistics, Gardening, Language Tutoring, Community Visitors Scheme, Wrapped with Love, Management committee, reception on the Front Desk, completing and compiling the community Diary, Following up people referred to volunteering, Eisteddfod catering, individual projects such as the Christmas Project, and the Volunteer Relationship Team. During the course of the year BINC has involved over 200 volunteers in the delivery of it programs. Their tireless contribution had improved the quality of live for many Bathurst residents. BINC’s volunteers are treated in exactly the same way as paid staff and they are regularly involved in brain storming and quality improvement sessions. BINC’s management committee, made up wholly of volunteers, continually reviews BINC’s organisational values and purpose of making Bathurst a better place to live. BINC received a $3000 donation, trophy and prize pack.