For just the third time in 35 years, the Rotary Club of Palmerston North has given its highest honour to a non-member.
Pauline Ferguson was yesterday awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship Award at a meeting in Palmerston North's Convention Centre.
Mrs Ferguson said she was humbled to receive the award, both on her own behalf but also for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Manawatu.
She has been the organisation's co-ordinator for the past 18 months.
"This programme is the first I have ever seen that is truly preventative. It can make a huge difference in people's lives in a short amount of time," she said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters works with police and schools to identify at-risk youth. They are then paired with adult volunteers who spend time with them each week.
Palmerston North Rotary has given 50 of the awards in the past 35 years, 47 of those to club members.
Mrs Ferguson was nominated by club member David Peters, who said the mother of two had been a social worker for 15 years.
Mr Peters said Mrs Ferguson started in social work in Dannevirke in 1996. Since then, she has worked in a variety of social work roles, including with youth offenders, the disabled and victims of sexual abuse.
Rotary district governor Graeme Blick said the Paul Harris awards recognised unsung heroes.
The awards are named after a Chicago lawyer who founded the world's first Rotary Club in 1905.
- Manawatu Standard
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