Positive kids do community proud
AFTER nine years as one of the stars of the National Rugby League, Preston Campbell has been to a few community events and a few awards nights.
But he's never seen anything like the Kids in Community Awards.
“It's amazing,” the Gold Coast Titans fullback said, looking around the Lismore Workers Club's main function room.
“This is the first time I've seen anything of its kind. You don't often see ‘kids' and ‘community' in the same sentence.
“I think it's amazing and I can't wait to hear the kids' stories and the things they have been up to.”
Last night was the 10th Kids in Community Awards night and organising committee member Maria Kelly said the event had grown out of sight.
The awards was now spreading up the coast. Kids in Community will now put on an awards ceremony for young people in the Tweed Shire and Ms Kelly said communities on the Gold Coast were also showing interest.
The format for the awards, which were set up to show the positive things young people did in the community, had been left largely unchanged over the past decade and emphasise inclusion.
“Although we do want to recognise high achievement in the academic and sporting arenas, we do try and focus on young people who are not usually recognised for doing good things,” Ms Kelly said.
That might help explain the attention the Against All Odds category has drawn over the years. This year's Division 1 winner, Kellie Mitchell, won because she so inspired her fellow students at Richmond River High by remaining cheerful and diligent despite a serious illness. The Division 2 winner, Alicia Harper, got her award for ‘turning past negatives into positives' by fighting back from a troubled home and school life to complete her HSC and start training as a youth worker.
Ms Kelly said that one category – which had one of the highest number of nominations at this year's awards – seemed to reflect across all categories.
“We put on the bottom of the (nomination) form for every nominee to indicate any challenges,” she said.
What they found was many nominees had faced major challenges, ‘but on the surface we don't see that'.
And that just made last night's winners even more inspirational.