Get to know SJ’s 2024 Citizen of the Year award winners

Published on Tuesday, 30 January 2024 at 9:32:56 AM

A collection of community champions were celebrated at the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale’s 2024 Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony on Friday, 26 January.

Awards were presented to the outstanding individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond in their service to Serpentine Jarrahdale.

Get to know this year’s winners below.

Sandra Hawkins – Clem Kentish Community Service Award

The Clem Kentish Community Service Award recognises those who have given more than 20 years of service, and Sandra Hawkins has been an active and caring community member throughout her time in the Shire.

Having worked with multiple community groups and spearheaded several local initiatives, Sandra could be found assisting in almost every event held across the Shire in the last 25 years.

Initially, her volunteering in the Shire began on an informal basis helping wherever she was needed. She eventually joined the groups she was helping, often taking on a committee position.

Her commitment to these groups includes:

  • 19 years with Byford & Districts Rotary Club
  • 10 years with the Byford Scarp Residents Association
  • 6 years with the Whitby Residents Association
  • 5 years with Neighbourhood Watch
  • 4 years with the Serpentine Jarrahdale Lions Club

Her time with the Lions Club has notably included being a key cog in delivering the SJ Lions Log Chop and Community Fair, a huge event on the local calendar that draws participants from far and wide to experience the event and explore our local area.

Sandra embodies the ethos of the Clem Kentish Community Service Award.

Lorraine Bowtell – Community Citizen of the Year

Lorraine is a long-standing community member who is always ready to assist whenever possible, helping people in whatever way her SJ neighbours need.

Driving seniors to appointments, carrying out health checks in the neighbourhood and preparing meals for those in need are all part of Lorraine’s regular day, making her invaluable to her local community.

Lorraine also assists Landcare SJ and the volunteers from the National Trust to rehabilitate the native species along Gooralong Brook in Jarrahdale. On Saturdays, you will find her at the finish line of the Jarrahdale parkrun scanning the time checkers and offering support.

She is an active member of the Jarrahdale Community Collective and a vital part of the lives of many seniors that maintain independent living in Jarrahdale.

Her volunteering extends beyond the local Jarrahdale area, however, being an active volunteer with the Mundijong Heritage Garden and Mundijong Mosaics Group.

Lorraine is very humble in her volunteer work always looking for ways to help others.

Karin Natalotto – Community Citizen of the Year: Senior

Karin Natalotto has worked tirelessly to make our community a better place, in particular recognising the need for women to be able to come together and support each other and the community.

Seven years ago Karin realised her craft shop could help bring ladies together and began welcoming and encouraging local women to do just that.

Initially, she provided her shop as a venue for older unemployed women to be able to do charity sewing for the Country Women’s Association. She encouraged local women to form their own groups at the shop for sewing and crafting and soon it was evident that this type of support was needed and appreciated by many.

Before long the group numbers increased, and Karin had to expand and began to hire a local hall.

Today the group numbers about 45. Many women have felt that this community group has provided a sense of belonging and care for each other. She has been able to create a community within our community which embodies social kindness and compassion, all of which she provides free of charge.

Karin quickly led the way during COVID-19 restrictions by organising many of the group to sew masks, which were provided at no charge to local community.

She strongly represents the meaning of community, and is a fitting recipient of this award.

Leisl Bailey – Community Citizen of the Year: Youth

Leisl has been an active volunteer in the Shire over the last six years.

She has made herself available at all hours, assisting in the growth of many projects within the Jarrahdale Community Collective (JCC) including the Community Fit Program and Youth Group.

Liesl has a strong presence within the administrative duties of the JCC being an executive within the committee, and is currently the secretary, a position which she has held since 2020.

Liesl shows a great deal of maturity for her age and participates with as many activities as her time allows between duties on the committee, working and studying full time.

She is as active in the programs as she is behind the scenes, regularly attending the Zumba classes as well as yoga and making herself available to participants for any questions, guidance and support they may need.

Active Citizenship Award – Mundijong Arts & Crafts Inc

The Mundijong Arts and Crafts group was established in 1989 with the aim of providing a space for people to socialise and meet new friends. Now more than 30 years on, with a current membership of 25 people, the group has become a key contributor to multiple local events and awareness campaigns.

Often hosting open days and promotional displays at their premises, the group has contributed to:

  • Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
  • Anzac Day
  • Road safety awareness
  • Ovarian cancer

The group has also given their time and effort to donate products to charity organisations and families in need, including knitted and crocheted toys and trauma teddies. They’ve also donated clothes to women’s refuges, nursing homes and rough sleepers.

This small, dedicated group are always looking out for the wider community. They are a shining example of the power of everyday people and the positive impact volunteering has on a community.

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