02/12/2003 - 21:00

Young volunteers show the way

02/12/2003 - 21:00

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TWO young Western Australians have emerged as shining lights for the not-for-profit sector.

Young volunteers show the way

TWO young Western Australians have emerged as shining lights for the not-for-profit sector.

Sandra Spadanuda and Alicia Curtis (both aged 20) were finalists in the Young Western Australian of the Year Awards.

While they were beaten for the award by WA’s youngest primary school principal, David Faulkner, it does not belittle their community efforts.

Ms Spadanuda currently volunteers between 25 and 30 hours of her time each week to community based activities. She works with at-risk youth and tutors young Indigenous people in their homes.

She was, until recently, working full-time as a youth and family support worker with Mission Australia’s On-Track program.

An opportunity to work with the Department of Community Development in Derby proved too good an opportunity for her to miss.

Alicia Curtis started in the not-for-profit sector at the age of 12 when she formed environmental group Kids Helping Kids.

That organisation has since morphed into Millennium Kids.

She also runs a business called Speaking of Leadership that concentrates on training and assisting young people.

Besides her business Ms Curtis is also a member of the national Youth Round Table and State Youth Environmental Council, and is working with Curtin Volunteers executives to develop the Alchemist Foundation.

That foundation will help young people to have a voice through community service.

Ms Curtis said she liked to work with young people.

“I like to show young people the avenues they can take to be a positive voice in their community,” she said.

Curtin University director of External and Community Relations Ian Fairnie, who is also helping to create the Alchemist Foundation, said he had seen what happened when Curtin Volunteers took students on the John Curtin Weekend – an event where the volunteers go into a community and help out.

“We just finished a project at King Edward Hospital. We went and revived their garden,” he said.

“It’s amazing what a small group of volunteers can do – admittedly with the help of companies such as Mitre 10 and a couple of others – to make a difference.”

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