Young leaders' work for others gets recognition

17:00, Jun 27 2013
Young leaders
RECOGNITION:Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, third from right, at Government House, with Young Community Leaders award recipients, from left, Mark Berry, Jacob Barker, Nicole Doriguzzi, Brittney Silk and Sharn Robinson.

Five of the capital's young leaders have been recognised for their voluntary work.

The Young Community Leaders Awards have been running biennially for the past 10 years, and this month the winners were announced at Government House.

Wellingtonians aged under 25 were nominated and then asked to submit 300 words about themselves, which six judges whittled down to the winning five.

Wellington Community Trust facilitates the awards, and chief executive Frances Russell says the awards are designed as a simple way of recognising the huge contribution of young people.

Every two years the winners get together for an alumni dinner that proves difficult as many of the winners are travelling the world and studying in other countries.

"A lot of the winners are relatively young and will no doubt go on to be very successful leaders, but it's more likely we'll see that happen in the next five years or so once they're settling down," she says.


Often young people working in voluntary organisations feel overwhelmed by the older members around them, Ms Russell says.

"Older members, patrons or people in leadership roles usually receive recognition so this is a way of singling out the younger people and recognising what they do."


- Nicole Doriguzzi was recognised for her work as an animal therapy volunteer and fosterer at the SPCA. It includes taking animals to the Te Hopai rest home once a week. Cystic Fibrosis Wellington also benefits from her voluntary work in which she enjoys visiting and reassuring mothers their children will live happy and fulfilled lives.

 - Mark Berry has aspirations to be an MP and pave the way towards better living conditions for deaf people. He is a member of the Wellington Deaf Society and board member of Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand, while also teaching sign language.

 - Jacob Barker joined the Kapiti Youth Council at 15, and three years on is still very involved in his community. He is head boy of Paraparaumu College, chair of the Student Council, facilitator for Students Against Driving Drunk and actively involved in Amnesty International.

- Brittney Silk helped establish the Home of Hope in Kolkata, India, and is working with Speech NZ to set up a Communicating in Leadership course for year 7 and 8 students. She is also a volunteer for the Hutt Valley Performing Arts Competition Society.

- Sharn Robinson used his 11 years of swimming experience to help coach Maori and Pacific Island people to compete in the Ironmaori Half Ironman event. At the age of 17 he was coaching people between 18 and 65 and inspired those older than himself to live a healthier lifestyle.

They each received $1000 for their efforts after spending with all the finalists a leadership day that included key speakers, debate and discussion

The Dominion Post