Press Release | 6 September 2018
The City of Stonnington hosted a cocktail reception where outstanding members of the community were presented with Citizen of the Year awards at the Malvern Town Hall on 6 September.
Every year, Council encourages the community to nominate an individual or group that has helped make our City a better place to live, work and play.
City of Stonnington Mayor, Cr Steve Stefanopoulos, said the awards recognise residents and volunteers for their contribution to our community.
“This year’s winners are a great endorsement of our community and those who dedicate their time to help support the greater community,” said Mayor Stefanopoulos.
“As a volunteer myself with numerous organisations across Stonnington and Melbourne, I congratulate this year’s recipients and thank them for their commitment and for working tirelessly to improve the lives of others.
“Their dedication and personal involvement helps make Stonnington a better place.
“These awards are an excellent way to acknowledge residents and volunteers who devote themselves to making a difference by contributing so much to our community,” added Mayor Stefanopoulos.
This year’s Citizen of the Year Award categories and winners are:
- Young Citizen of the Year (under 26 years of age as at 31 July 2018) (Maddisen Rado)
- Citizen of the Year – Arts/Culture/Education (Nicole (Nicki) Batagol)
- Citizen of the Year – Community Service (Nikki Anthi Alexandrou)
- Citizen of the Year – Sport (Ian Crawford)
- Community Group – Stonnington Toy Library
- Mayor’s Special Service – (JoCare) for outstanding voluntary service to the community
Citizen of the Year award winner bios
Maddisen Rado – Young Citizen of the Year (under 26 years of age as at 31 July 2018)
- Maddisen Rado is a Grade 5 student at Malvern Valley Primary School. She is working and being mentored by m.a.d. woman (make a Difference) Foundation, which “encourages, inspires and enables people to make a positive difference in the environment, community and to the lives of those who need support,” and has become a leading fundraiser and organiser in her community and primary school for several years, including a year as junior school councillor.
- Recently, Maddisen participated in Shave for a Cure to raise money for cancer support having her hair shaved off and donating it to be made into a wig for a cancer patient. She was the youngest to participate in this and was thanked directly from the World’s Greatest Shave organisers.
- Maddisen saves her pocket money to buy school books for children in foster care and worked with a program to make ‘kindness packs’ for families in hardship making 2,000 care packs. She visited local stores to get contributions to the packs and organised a production line to pack all items that were sent around Australia. Not satisfied with this, Maddisen was concerned that some kids would not be able to give their mums a gift on Mother’s Day, so she asked that packs be also given to local schools so that kids could do so. This resulted in another 250 packages.
- Maddisen is also buddy to a special child in Prep grade and is supporting his development and socialisation into the community. Helping other children in need is her passion and Maddisen has been described as a person with a wisdom and empathy beyond her years and is continually planning for future projects.
Nicole (Nicki) Batagol – Citizen of the Year – Arts/Culture/Education
- Nicole Batagol has been involved with Armadale Primary School for seven years – herself on the Parents and Friends Association Committee, organising the annual fun run for 380 children, volunteering for school excursions, parents’ events, school sports days and even overseeing the recent landscaping project at the school.
- As current School Council President, Nicki brings experience and skills from her work on boards to apply outstanding governance to the School Council and is committed to strengthening the partnership with the parents, school and wider community.
Ian Crawford – Citizen of the Year – Sport
- Ian Crawford has been involved in cricket for over 50 years and in particular, with Prahran Cricket Club. His life-time contribution has covered a range of positions and roles.
- Ian was president of the now amalgamated Metropolitan Cricket league from the 1970–71 to 1981–82 seasons.
- He was sixth President of the Prahran Cricket Club from 1981–82 (aged 35 years), standing down in 2008.
- He was a delegate for Cricket Victoria for 38 years, helping in both Men’s and Women’s cricket and was Deputy Chairman for three years.
- Ian was Tour Manager of two Cricket Victoria senior men’s tours to Papua New Guinea in 1994 and 1995.
- He was also recognised for his services to cricket with life membership of Cricket Victoria in 2005 while still a delegate.
- In 2008–09 Ian took on the inaugural role of Chairman of the Inner South East Cricket Scorpions, who are charged with the under 14, under 16 and under 18 boys and girls, elite pathway squads (from the region) to play other regions in the state championships.
- For the past three years he has been Chairman of the disciplinary Committee of the Sub District Cricket Association.
- Cricket is not his only love, Ian is a life member of the Fitzroy Football Club now Brisbane Lions – being involved since 1965, having held the roles of Vice Chairman of the Club’s Historical Society, and is still regularly the MC at club functions.
- Ian’s other football involvement has been as Assistant Secretary for five years and a member of the Junior Recruiting Panel from 1969 to 1996.
- Ian is a man who is always there to support others and give back to his community and this award is fitting for a man who has and still is involved in sport.
Nikki Anthi Alexandrou – Citizen of the Year – Community Service
- Nikki Alexandrou came to Australia more than fifty years ago as a young bride and raised three boys with her husband. For over 35 years Nikki has been busy in the broader Greek community, helping people integrate into Australian life and continuing to preserve their Greek heritage by teaching Greek to young Australian Greeks. In particular, she has been a great organiser and dedicated supporter of the elderly especially as a volunteer at the Greek Elderly Club.
- Nikki arranges outings and activities to help get the older people out and keep them healthy. She arranges activities, trips, visits, is a volunteer interpreter, takes them shopping and drives then to and from church and plays Greek music for fun, dancing, singing and reminiscing. The young can converse with their elderly Greek grandparents and all learn and participate in their Greek culture and traditions.
- Nikki is a major organiser at St Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church, as well cooking and hosting morning teas to fund raise for Cancer Council of Victoria, and now the church, to help rebuild the church hall that was burned down in 2009.
- Words that have been used to describe Nikki are organised, hard-working, happy, warm, kind, giving, humble, someone who focuses on the positive, approachable, and a builder of strong links to include everyone in the community.
Stonnington Toy Library – Citizen of the Year – Community Group
- The Stonnington Toy Library helps children of Stonnington in the vital early childhood years through the promotion of the value of play. They educate the community on the importance and benefits of play and provide high quality advice on developmentally appropriate toys for loan. The library provides a critical support system in the community for families to connect with their local community, especially those families who are new to Stonnington, and come from various cultural backgrounds. It also provides extra support for families with children who have additional needs, and for families who are experiencing other challenges or financial difficulty.
- The key achievement for the Toy Library is maintaining a large membership of 580 Stonnington families with volunteering being central to the daily function of the Library from its daily operations through to its Committee of Management. It is the largest Toy Library in Melbourne and Victoria.
- In 2017–18, the Toy Library relied on more than 400 parents’, grandparents and 40 volunteers from the community; 22 being students from local high schools and 12 students from Holmesglen TAFE. They contributed over 1,300 voluntary hours plus the Committee of Management’s volunteering estimated to be more than 800 hours annually, amounting to a massive total of 2,100 hours or 55 entire weeks of voluntary work.
- Volunteering gives families a sense of belonging in the Stonnington community, and a feeling of making a worthwhile contribution that results in increased wellbeing for all families that participate.
JoCare – Mayor’s Special Service Award – for outstanding voluntary service to the community
- JoCare is a volunteer group operating out of St Joseph’s Malvern, motivated by the desire to build a more caring and compassionate society through enhancing neighbourhood connectedness and companionship to lonely and isolated people in the Stonnington community. They do not have clients or customers; they have neighbours.
- The volunteers at JoCare offer companionship and support to isolated and lonely people especially the elderly. It is a free service and they are proud to be non-professional services visiting others for a chat, sharing a book, going for a walk or running small errands irrespective of whether their neighbours are under government care packages or not and they do not have to be registered under My Aged Care. There are 47 trained volunteers with 21 actively working from within all walks of life, with a further four waiting placement.
- Currently, there are seventeen neighbours, with two more soon to start once a volunteer is matched to them.
- JoCare also hosts monthly a social gathering to provide an opportunity for people to gather for a chat, tea, cards and games, with many of the attendees not a part of the neighbour program. This small local initiative, powered by volunteers to combat loneliness in Stonnington is making a difference through a dedicated team of volunteers.