2019 Inner West Citizens of the Year

Friday, 25 January 2019

Inner West Council’s Citizen of the Year is super-volunteer, Jamie De Paulo.

Inner West Library and History Services, NSW Cancer Council, Sydney Relay for Life and PACE Mentoring program run by the Australian Network on Disability have all benefitted from his generosity.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jamie, who lives in Camperdown, is one of the youngest people to ever receive the accolade. He was also honoured at last year’s Amy Large Volunteer Awards.

“Jamie is an inspirational role model because he serves as an example for the disability community (and the general community) that anything is possible, even for someone living with a physical disability,” said Jamie’s nominee, Julie Barkman.

“I was very excited and very happy to hear that I was chosen,” Jamie said.

This year, both Senior and Young Citizen awards are shared.

The co-Senior Citizens of the Year are both passionate advocates for refugees. Both volunteer at the Asylum Seekers Centre (ASC) in Newtown.

Leichhardt’s Margaret Tung runs English classes for job seekers and employment workshops. She is also part of the community speakers program, going to many schools and institutions around the city to talk about the asylum seeker situation here in Australia.

“To tell you the truth, when Council rang me, I thought they were ringing about the recycling bins I applied for,” Margaret said of receiving the phone call about the award.

“This is a great honour. My volunteer work is very rewarding, very satisfying. I learn so much and develop my skills through working with the clients, the staff and the other volunteers. ASC has about 400 volunteers, really everyone works very hard. There are so many deserving volunteers there,” she said.

The other co-Senior Citizen of the Year, Rozelle’s Jude Stoddart, is the only dedicated ASC volunteer to work on university applications on behalf of asylum seekers.

She pioneered ASC's response to university access for people seeking asylum. Her unique efforts have created long-lasting employment and professional opportunities that could not have been possible without her time, passion and dedication. Her clients have had a 100% success rate in gaining university offers and four have secured scholarships.

“I wanted to do something useful when I was appalled by the government's treatment of asylum seekers,” Jude said.

Zarni Tun (18) and Arran Keith (9) are the co-Young Citizens of the Year. Both have cerebral palsy.

Marrickville’s Zarni, a scholarship university student recognised for academic achievement and community involvement, has several passions: his music, his nature photography, and helping others.

In 2017, he climbed Mt Kosciusko on crutches, raising $11,000 for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

“I was quite surprised to find out I had received this award. Only a handful of people receive this award, so I’m truly grateful to be ranked up there with them,” Zarni said.

Arran Keith of Lilyfield has also climbed Mount Kosciusko for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (he raised $25,000).

“Arran lives by the motto 'there is no such word as can't, there’s only won't, but I prefer do!'” said his father Richard.

Some of Arran’s most impressive achievements are in the sport of RaceRunning, an international disability sport in which children and adults compete with running bikes on an athletics track.

He represented Australia at the World Para Athletics European Championships, achieving three world records for his age group.

Closer to home, Arran has participated at the past three Balmain Fun Runs, hitting a personal best at each event. He was also part of the Little Warriors group 4x100 metres relay at the 2018 Invictus Games.

The 2019 Citizens of the Year were honoured at Council’s Australia Day event in Enmore Park on Saturday, 26 January.

For a print quality image of any of the Citizens of the Year, contact the Communication team.

For media enquiries, contact Elizabeth Heath | Media and Communications Coordinator P: +61 2 9392 5334 | E: elizabeth.heath@innerwest.nsw.gov.au


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Page last updated: 25 Jan 2019