Young humanitarians make a difference

LANSDOWNE Crescent Primary School student Emma O’Grady has been recognised for her compassion, integrity and kindness at the Fred Hollows Humanity Award, announced at Parliament House in October.

A national initiative of The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Humanity Award acknowledges year six students who follow in Fred’s footsteps by demonstrating humanitarian values toward others.

The awards began in the ACT in 2012 and expanded to Tasmania in 2016.

With the 2017 event seeing a total of 419 students nominated nationally, Gabi Hollows said the “endless ideas and energy of young people” continued to act as a source of inspiration.

“It was wonderful to meet some of the students who are making a positive difference in their communities,” she said.

“Fred would have been incredibly proud of the contribution these students are making to society and of The Foundation for recognising and encouraging them to help others, no matter how big or small their actions.

“To all of this year’s Humanity Award recipients and to the 2017 Tasmanian Junior Ambassador, I offer my warmest congratulations and my heartfelt thanks.”

Emma was nominated by her teacher Jillian Wishart for the compassion, integrity and kindness she shows toward students with disabilities, language difficulties or those who simply need a friend.

In grade one, Emma started learning sign language so she could communicate with a student in her class who has autism and is profoundly deaf.

She also started learning French to include two new students from France.

“Emma is absolutely brilliant with the little kids, she is helpful in a selfless manner,” Ms Wishart said.

“Emma’s goal is to make others happy – she makes a difference every day in children’s lives through her incidental acts of kindness and caring nature.”

The Fred Hollows Foundation named Dominic College year six vice-captain Kitean Aitken the 2017 Tasmanian Junior Ambassador.

As a junior ambassador, Kitean will be able to extend his humanity by allocating $5000 – donated by charity partner Specsavers – to one of The Foundation’s programs to end avoidable blindness.

Kitean has chosen to support The Outback Eye Service, which delivers eye health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote western New South Wales.

Kitean said he chose the program as it focussed on social need in Australia.

“Our young man has a heart of gold and is always happy to help those in need,” Kitean’s parents Meegan and Mark Aitken said.

“We often get comments about his infectious smile and how happy he makes those around him.

“Kitean’s attitude towards others is a credit to himself and we look forward to watching him continue with his kindness as he continues life’s journey.”

The Fred Hollows Humanity Award will return to Tasmania in 2018.

For more information, visit www.hollows.org/humanityaward.

Caption: Hobart-based Fred Hollows Humanitarian Award recipients with Fred Hollows Foundation founding director Gabi Hollows and Department of Education secretary Jenny Gale.