Community achievements celebrated at awards night

The 2022 winners of the City of Melton Community Achievement Awards were announced at a special presentation by Melton City Council on Tuesday night.

The annual awards recognise the outstanding contribution of community members who have made a positive and lasting impact on individuals, groups and organisations within the city.

City of Melton Mayor Cr Goran Kesic said the awards celebrated volunteerism, local leadership, and community spirit.

“Congratulations to the all the winners! These awards recognise the special contributions our residents make, and the community spirit that makes our city so special,” Cr Kesic said.

“All our nominees this year were of an extremely high calibre and it makes me proud to see the dedication and passion within our community.”

Melton City Council congratulates:

Citizen of the Year

Murray Lewis – An active member of the RSL for more than 40 years, Murray was also the co-founder of the Caroline Springs RSL Sub-Branch. His decades of service have helped hundreds of veterans and their families receive both support and recognition for their sacrifice.

He is also a pensions advocate for Veterans at Melton Vietnam Veterans Centre, initiated proceedings for the first memorial at Caroline Springs, is caretaker of the memorial walk in Aintree, and a key support person for the Burnside Village War Widows Group.

Young Citizen of the Year

Grace Jikotani – Grace is a youth leader for Melton’s Fijian community and encourages young people to share their stories, learn from each other, appreciate their culture, and be good role models. She has led the BULA Meke youth group, an entertainment group that showcases the proud and rich culture through traditional dances.

Ivanka Portelli – During COVID-19 restrictions, Ivanka worked to reduce people’s social isolation and loss of connection, going door to door delivering care packages to families in Caroline Springs. Each package was hand crafted with individualised notes containing kind and encouraging words and self-care advice.

Disability Access and Inclusion Leader of the Year

Michelle Magundayao – Michelle actively works to identify barriers to inclusion for people with a disability and improve their participation in, and connection to, their community. She is involved in the Care Melton Expo, has worked at developing employment, education, and training opportunities, and liaising with key organisations to improve participation and facilities for people with a disability.

Gender Equity Leader of the Year

Margaret Hinks – A dedicated member of the Zonta Club of Melton, Margaret has worked tirelessly to support initiatives to empower women, improve self-esteem, and initiate change. She has coordinated sewing classes at the women’s prison, supported the provision of birthing kits and breast care cushions, and participates in events such as 16 Days of Activism and White Ribbon Day.

Intercultural Leader of the Year

Ornella Niyonzima – Ornella has been instrumental in the creation of Club Iteka, a Burundian dance group that shares Burundian culture with young people and keeps them connected to their roots. Ornella’s passion and leadership has inspired many young girls to join the group, as well as bringing the culture to the wider community.

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