Members of our community have been recognised as part of this year’s Boroondara Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year awards for their exceptional contributions to the community.
Congratulations to Yvonne Giltinan and Dr Elaine Ong who were recognised as joint Citizens of the Year, and Aidan Dimitriadis who was announced as Young Citizen of the Year at a ceremony on Australia Day.
Yvonne is founder and choral director of the Yarra Gospel Community Choir. Over the past 17 years, she has grown the choir from just 4 original members to more than 70.
During 2020, Yvonne volunteered countless hours to take the choir online, providing comfort and joy to its members, extended families and the wider community during a most challenging year.
A professional musician with 40 years’ experience, she uses her skills and experience to mentor young accompanists and build a supportive community. Yvonne also volunteers her time to support local organisations and activities, including Camberwell High Ex-Students Society and St Mark’s Camberwell.
Dr Elaine Ong
Dr Elaine Ong is a veterinarian with her own clinic in Balwyn, and is also the veterinary surgeon for Guide Dogs Victoria.
She started doing welfare work as a volunteer vet in the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami. Each week, Elaine tirelessly volunteers her time to rescue and treat injured or displaced kangaroos and wallabies across Victoria. She has volunteered as a vet and expert wildlife rescuer in significant bushfires and floods in Victoria for the last 20 years, including the Black Saturday bushfires and recently in the Mallacoota fires.
Dr Ong is also the founder of Vets for Compassion, where she trained vets who deliver animal welfare work in Bali and China for the last 22 years.
Young Citizen of the Year recipient Aidan Dimitriadis has spent nearly half his life giving back to his community.
The year 5 student volunteers at Four Golden Hearts, a group that supports local families. His “Build Anything, Be Anything by Aidan” campaign has provided hundreds of packs of Lego to children in need.
In addition to his own campaign, Aidan helps sort and pack toiletries, clothing and toys for those in need and for charities such as St Kilda Mums and Backpacks 4 VIC Kids Melbourne. He is also involved in an annual “Coats of Kids” campaign, which he has run through his school to donate winter clothing for children in need.
Our Citizen of the Year awards recognise members of the Boroondara community who show exceptional leadership or commitment towards improving the lives of others.