December 5 2008. Parliament House, Sydney, 2008 Volunteer of the year Award (Not present-Layne Beachley) Shu Fen Wang, Karen Carmichael, Lorraine Clark & Krystle Marsh. Photo by Timothy Clapin
December 5 2008. Parliament House, Sydney, 2008 Volunteer of the year Award
(Not present-Layne Beachley) Shu Fen Wang, Karen Carmichael, Lorraine Clark & Krystle Marsh.Photo by Timothy Clapin

2008 NSW Volunteer Ambassador of the Year, Layne Beachley

Layne is the most successful female surfer of all time and seven-time world champion. Layne is Founder and Chief Executive of the Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars Foundation and she has been involved in numerous charitable works and organisations.

In 2003 Layne created the Aim for the Stars Foundation to support and promote the academic, sporting, community and cultural dreams of young women across Australia. In addition to this Layne has been involved as an ambassador, spokesperson and volunteer for many charities including:

The Layne Beachley Aim For The Stars Foundation, ambassador for Unicef, Breast Cancer, Planet Ark, Club Sporanza, Day of Difference Foundation.

2008 NSW Volunteer of the Year Shu Fen Wang

For ten years, Shu Fen Wang has been devoting her time to the West Region Chinese Association. She has been actively involved in a number of efforts to assist Chinese migrants in Western Sydney become more accustomed to and involved in Australian life.

Ms. Wang has been responsible for organising various multicultural social and educational activities for the Association. In 1998, Ms. Wang proposed the implementation of a chorus team, which now boasts 60 singers and has participated in several major performances at locations such as the Sydney Opera House.

She has also promoted the participation of migrants in environmental protection and cleaning, specifically Clean Up Australia Day, as well as setting up a group of Asian migrants which focus on environmental protection in the Inner West.

Nominator Karin Cheung of the West Region Chinese Association also says that Ms. Wang is highly involved in assisting members with their day to day tasks. “She accompanies them to see the doctor, to Centrelink and helps in completing forms.”

Overall, Ms. Cheung has high regard for Ms. Wang’s contribution to the Inner West Chinese community.

“Ms. Wang has devoted her heart of love to the service of the large number of elderly Asian background residents in Inner West Sydney and has made a great contribution to multiculturalism in Australia.”

2008 NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year Lorraine Clark

Lorraine Clark is a woman with a long history of contributing to her community through volunteer work. Her involvement with children’s services, surf life saving, youth programs and disability support services has been hugely significant. Lorraine has played an instrument role as a sports coach for the Special Olympics program for the past 19 years.

As a swimming and basketball coach Lorraine developed a skills based program that eventuated in athletes achieving a level of competency that made access to training and competition in these sports a realistic goal. The success of her coaching can be measured by the large number of athletes who now compete at Regional, State and National Competitions.

From Lorraine we have learnt a deeper understanding of life and the true meaning of human happiness. She has taught us all about charity, compassion and tolerance. It is because of her that our athletes have learnt to believe in their own ability and this has given them the courage to keep going forward, opening their lives to much love and respect and given them self fulfilment.

2008 NSW Youth Volunteer of the Year Krystle Marsh

Krystle, a Year 12 student at Warilla High School, has worked as a volunteer in several organisations such as the St Vincent de Paul Society and the Australian Red Cross.

Her work with “Vinnies” has included home visiting, social justice advocacy, fundraising for mental health and the 2007 and 2008 winter appeals and Christmas Appeals.

Bob Pastor of Warilla High School describes Krystle as a woman with

“Empathy, enthusiasm, energy and willingness to take on the ‘big challenges’ and see them through to their end”.

Krystal also expanded her volunteering activities by assisting in the running of the Warilla High School Breakfast club and the planning and coordinating of the Warilla High/Vinnies ‘Grandparents Day’ celebrations for seniors’ week.

Her volunteering work with the Australian Red Cross included the 2008 Doorknock campaign where she acted as a Team leader and she was the Recruitment Leader for the 2006, 2007 and 2008 campaigns.

Krystal has also been at the forefront of bringing awareness to the high youth unemployment rate in the Illawarra by attending a forum on Youth Unemployment which was held in March 2007.

Krystal has also been involved in several other volunteering activities and represented Warilla High School at the Centre for Volunteering NSW’s Bridge to Volunteering Spectacular. Krystal was given the honour of opening the ceremony by the Honourable Linda Burney MP, the then Minister for Volunteering.

2008 NSW Corporate Volunteer of the Year, Karen Carmichael

Optus and its IT Commercial Director, Karen Carmichael, have been recognised for mobilising an exemplary Employee Volunteering program at one of Sydney’s most disadvantaged schools, Lurnea High School.

The program, which is part of Optus’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Program, gives students a professional development experience with Optus, well beyond what they would otherwise have access to. Through utilising her business contacts from 17 years with Optus, Karen was able to offer the students work experience far beyond the scope of their limited personal and school networks.

For some students, this represents their only tangible link to the corporate world due to difficult socio-economic circumstances, particularly for non-English speakers.

“Some of them are in war-torn Iraq one day, and then they’re in the middle of Liverpool, they can’t speak English, they don’t even know where they live,” said Karen.

Karen brings in Optus staff to the school campus, so the students can interact and get to know established professionals. Students are then invited to visit the Optus facility in Ryde, where they are involved in substantial work experience programs. “We have had the students involved in the real life of Optus, not just looking in from the outside.”

The Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) developed the Partners in Learning program, which facilitated the union between Optus and Lurnea High School. CEO Carey Badcoe explained: “The project they did was absolutely fantastic and it was creative and it was clever and the students had lots of responsibility.”

Badcoe said what singles out Karen from the many other high profile volunteers who work with the ABCN (the board is made up of 12 CEOs from Australia’s most prominent Corporations from Microsoft to the Commonwealth Bank), is that she continued her significant commitment despite being diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2006. Badcoe said: “The principal (of Lurnea High School) went and saw her in hospital. I mean that’s how important she is, she really broke through the normal corporate-community barriers.”

She was buoyed during her treatment by the strong support she received from the Lurnea High community, who made her aware of how big her volunteering commitment meant to the school. “The intellectually handicapped students made me a set of turbans when they found out my hair was going to fall out, how amazing is that?” effused Karen .

Karen attributes her achievements in Employee Volunteering and in turn CSR Optus’ company-wide approach of generosity and gratitude. She also sang the praises of CEO Paul O’Sullivan, in his personal contribution to the field. She said: “If you’ve got it from the top and then you’re surrounded by people who are quite dedicated to this sort of thing naturally anyway, the rest of it is just easy.”