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* Volunteer of the Year Awards 2019

Wow! what a lovely event this ceremony turned out to be with 11 organisations submitting nominations.

Nominations were received this year from:
* Cairns Historical Society
* Pyjama Foundation Cairns
* Mossman Support services
* Story Dogs Ltd Cairns
* Port Douglas Community Services Network

* Cairns RSL Sub-branch
* Worklink Group Ltd
* Mareeba Community Centre
* Tropical Arts Association Ltd
* Cairns and District Chinese Association Inc.
* CRC Friends of Cairns Library

Other invited attendees included the organisation nominators, Lady Mayoress Claire Manning, and Board Members from FNQ Volunteers Inc,

Photos of the recipients receiving their Certificate of Appreciation.
(click images to enlarge)

To add a pleasant change to the proceedings this year, 2018 Long-term winner Dr Dawn May from JCU and The Cairns Historical Society was invited to be Guest Speaker for the assembled organisations and nominees. Nicely timed, Dr Dawn spoke generally on volunteering in the Cairns Community highlighting many organisations who do wonderful work for the community.

The program for the ceremony is shown below.
This was followed by the presentation of the Certificates of Appreciation by Cr Terry James and Cr Linda Cooper. This was Cr Cooper’s first event with FNQ Volunteers Inc.

Cr Cathy Zeiger was then called upon to the read winning nomination profiles; Cr Zeiger tried very hard to keep everyone “in the dark” but eventually sorted the wheat from the chaff.

The Short-term (less than 3 years) Volunteer Award went to Christine Hofman who was nominated by Janine Sigley from Story Dogs Ltd.

“From the very start of Christine’s involvement with Story dogs she has given 110%. She has been a trail blazer, starting a brand new chapter of Story Dogs in Cairns in April 2017. To do this she flew herself to Brisbane to undertake Story Dogs training, assessment and in-school training. This was all from her own expenses and on her own time, She could see the potential for the program in Cairns and in the school she worked at. As such she took it on herself to persuade the Principle of the St Gerard Majella School. The Principle came on board to become the first school in Cairns to have the Story Dogs program.

Since Christmas 2017 Christine has worked persistently to make many other schools in the Cairns region aware of the Story Dogs program and to also bring on board another 10 volunteers in 7 local schools.

Christine has also taken on the responsibility to training another Coordinator who now looks after the Malanda region, south west of Cairns. Training a new coordinator has involved additional sessions and trips to Malanda to support the new Coordinator and school. Christine takes this in her stride.

Most of the Story Dogs regions do not grow at this fast pace. Christine is an inspiration, especially as she works full-time. All her efforts for Story Dogs are on a volunteer basis.”

“Story Dogs helps children to learn to read, the fun way, with a dog…Christine took on the role of presenting a session at the 2017 Annual Story Dogs Leaders Conference, sharing her experiences and passion for helping children learn to read.”

The Long-term (more than 3 years) Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Irene Johnstone (Nominated by Tracey Redford) from Tropical Arts Association Inc.

“Not only has Irene been a long-term and dedicated volunteer for Tropical Arts but she wears many hats, volunteering for: Northern Pride Football, Neighbourhood Watch Woree, Barrier Reef Lions Club, Cairns Show Gates, Oz Harvest, RSL Girl in a Million Quest and now Edmonton Scouts. Irene is highly active in the community and often donates her own funds to buy promotional material, She is an advocate for inclusiveness within the community and is always promoting active participation for people with disabilities.”

“…Irene with act on agenda tasks assigned to her immediately and is dependable in all instances, She has a keen eye for promotional material and knows how to gain sponsors and volunteers… “

Tropical Arts was able to put on their show in 2018 because of Irene’s dedication and commitment.

Lastly, FNQVI Boardchair Annette Sheppard gave a small acknowledgement address highlighting the community work being perfromed with organisations in the Volunteer Coordinator Network Engagement Meetings, the forthcoming VExpo 2019 in July, and the new Pop-up Stall recently held at Mt Sheridan Plaza.

Everyone had a delightful lunch with great service and excellent food. Our thanks sincerely to the team at Plantations Restaurant under the manager Katie who put a lot of planning into the event.

FNQ Volunteers Inc gives thanks to the Australian Government, the Queensland Government and Volunteering Qld. for their generous support in staging this function.

© 2014 – FNQ Volunteers Inc. Assisted by the Australian Government. All content, design & images © FNQ Volunteers Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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