It was a double win for MLC School girls in the inaugural Burwood Council 2019 Youth Change Maker Awards, announced in mid April 2019, with MLC School students taking out awards in two of the five categories – the Environmental Advocate Award and the Young Visionary Award.
Year 7 student, Vishaalini Ravichandra was awarded the Environmental Advocate Award for her group VANA. The project was based on her personal volunteer service trip to Samoa last year, where she and a group worked at the local school assisting with painting the library, reading to students and taking a staggering 150kg of educational resources for the children which was made possible through her group’s fundraising efforts.
“The visit to Samoa gave me a chance to see how other people live and it made me really appreciate what we have. It also made me want to be a part of improving things for this community. It also showed me that doing something small (from our perspective) can make such a long-lasting impact in someone else’s life,” said Vishaalini.
A group of Year 12 students calling themselves the Rainbow Readers took out the Young Visionary Award which saw the girls helping children learn English by reading to them at the Burwood Library every Friday after school. The group included Vicky Feng, Katrina Marshall, Katie Zheng, Phoebe Zhou, Nicole Lin, Anushri Baksi and Claire McLelland. Vicky Feng started the program two years ago and all the girls have been going to the Burwood Library every Friday since it began. Vicky Feng was also named Burwood Young Citizen of the Year on Australia Day 2019.
“The Burwood Youth Change Maker Awards recognise and showcase the significant achievements of our local young people. This year’s award recipients were chosen because of their outstanding commitment and dedication to their chosen pursuits’, Mayor of Burwood, Cr. John Faker.
Youth Development Officer for Burwood Council, Ms Miriam Wassef commented on the MLC student submissions.
“Vishaalini and The Rainbow Readers were both outstanding contenders in Burwood Council’s 2019 Youth Change Maker Awards. Their dedication and commitment to community engagement shone through with Council’s judging panel unanimously selecting both MLC nominees as winners in their respective categories.
“Vishaalini, a member of the group VANA has championed sustainability through her volunteering efforts in Samoa, rallying with her fellow group members to restore a local library, supply over 150kg of sustainable educational resources for children, educate young people on sustainable practices and plant several vegetable gardens giving the school canteen ready access to fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.
“The Rainbow Readers exemplify what it means to be self-starting committed volunteers. All six members have displayed ongoing commitment to an innovative intergenerational local initiative that has delivered positive outcomes and benefits for the Burwood community.
Through their program Anushri, Katie, Katrina, Nicole, Phoebe and Vicky have helped improve the English skills of local newly arrived children, creating social connections through reading. Well done and congratulations to all recipients”, added Ms Wassef.
The Mayor of Burwood, John Faker and General Manager of Burwood Council, Bruce Macdonnell presented the awards to the MLC students.
“These remarkable young girls have demonstrated a passion and commitment to make a change for the better. They have not only helped children through their efforts but indirectly have inspired others showing leadership and humanity,” said Principal, Ms Lisa Moloney.