This year’s theme – solidarity through volunteering – speaks to the galvanising power of volunteerism, in shaping equal and inclusive communities. To commemorate this important message, we’re delighted to highlight the extraordinary stories of some of our finalists in this year’s Volunteer of the Year Awards.

For instance, the incredible Joe Miller, an influential and compassionate leader in his local community of Tamworth. As part of his work and advocacy with Stroke Foundation, Joe speaks about his experiences around stroke and spreads awareness on prevention. He is also the face of a recovery resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stroke survivors, which helps normalise the taxing impact of this experience on mental health.

Another includes the amazing Salwa Salwa, a Ph.D. student at The University of Newcastle, who, through her involvement in the Ethnic Community Services Co-operative, has championed her local student community. Salwa provides multilingual and multicultural support, conducts training on cultural competency, and teaches English to migrants and refugees.

Or the wonderful Ziyan Tejani, a devoted volunteer who has worked tirelessly for various causes ranging from human rights, climate change to mental health. One of his many exploits includes working with the Macquarie University Student Representative Council to support an ‘Exam De-stress’ initiative, which included providing students with study packs, consisting of stationery, a snack, and bringing therapy dogs onto campus.

These are just some examples of the exceptional contributions of our volunteers. Thank you for your time, passion and dedication. Today – and every day – we celebrate you.

To discover all our fantastic finalists in this year’s Awards, visit our 2022 Awards page. And if you want to catch all the action as we announce our 2022 winners, tune into the live stream of the State Ceremony from 11:25am on Thursday 8 December on our Facebook page.