Three Moree women have been recognised for their contribution to the community after being nominated for the 2019 Seven News NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards.
Jessica Duncan, Bree Pring and Emily Cosgrove have each been nominated for the Young Achiever Awards, which aim to acknowledge, encourage and promote the positive achievements of all young people in NSW and the ACT up to and including 29 years of age as of December 31.
Ms Duncan has been nominated for three awards – the Aboriginal Education Council Aboriginal Education Award, the Freemasons of NSW/ACT Community Service Award and the NSW Deputy Premier's Regional Achiever Award for all the volunteer work she does in the Moree community.
Among her many achievements, Ms Duncan founded her own charity business, Donate for Dignity in 2015 which provides care packages to more than 300 homeless or disadvantaged people in the Moree community each year.
This year she also coordinated the first Rural Endometriosis Health Forum in Moree for regional women, which saw specialists from all over Australia provide education and support to the more than 60 attendees.
Ms Duncan is the youngest Aboriginal female board member of Pius X Aboriginal Corporation, volunteering more than 100 hours a year. She also volunteers hundreds of hours for the Moree Reconciliation Committee, promoting positive relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and helps run the only large Reconciliation Awards in NSW.
She fundraised for the Hike for the Homeless event, raising nearly $2,000 in two years, and has fudnraised with her employer, Aboriginal Employment Strategy to donate $5,000 to the Moree Drought Muster to support local farmers.
In regards to Aboriginal education, Ms Duncan has completed her advanced Diploma in History, Family Research and Inquiry at the University of New England and has 12 months to go to complete her Bachelor of History, Inquiry and Practice. She has completed Certificates I and II in Kamilaroi Language and speaks the local language during the acknowledgement to country at the Moree Reconciliation Week Gala awards every year. Each year she attends Goodstart Early Learning to teach the students Kamilaroi language words and songs, as well as teaching the language to family day care students. Ms Duncan has also has been granted a position on the National Parks and Wildlife committee with the local Aboriginal sites area of Terry Hie Hie and is very much into family research and her Kamilaroi language.
Despite all this, Ms Duncan was shocked to find out she had been nominated for the Young Achiever Awards, for the second time, believing she doesn’t do anything more than anyone else would.
“I definitely did not think I would be nominated,” she said.
“All the other nominations are really impressive.
“It’s just really surprising; I don’t think I do anything that important or our of the ordinary.
“It’s really humbling. I do pretty average day-to-day stuff that anyone would do.”
Ms Duncan said she has been brought up to give back to the community which is why it’s second nature to her to do what she can to help others.
“Mum’s led by example and I’ve been following in her footsteps,” she said.
“If you’ve got any skills or abilities or time, you’ve got to give back to your community because Moree gives so much to us.
“The beauty about living in a small town is if you’re sick or something goes wrong, everyone rallies behind you, so if you’ve got a chance to give back then take it.”
Meanwhile, Ms Pring has also been nominated for the Freemasons of NSW/ACT Community Service Award for her efforts in coordinating the successful Moree Drought Muster, which has significantly helped a number of drought-affected farmers from the Moree area.
Over the past five years Ms Pring has been involved in fundraising for many organisations within the local community including Cancer Council of NSW, Leukemia Foundation and Drinks for Drought in 2014.
Most recently, however, Ms Pring, McGregor Gourlay Moree operations manager, and her colleagues Tegan George and Maddison Richards decided they wanted to do what they could to help local farmers struggling personally and professionally and started the Moree Drought Muster.
The team aimed to raise money to buy vouchers from local businesses, hay from local suppliers and gather donations of food, toiletries, personal products and more to distribute to those in need. They conducted an auction on August 24, raising $24,000.
With contributions from far and wide, the estimated total value of funds raised and in-kind donations is up to $80,000.
Food, fodder, toiletries and gift vouchers have been distributed locally to individual families in need, with a major delivery to Collarenebri and a further delivery planned for Mungindi.
“We’ve still got a supply of stock that we’re able to distribute,” Ms Pring said.
“There’s still no sign of the drought breaking; families are still going to be needing help. We’ve got money, we’ve still got food, water and plenty of gift vouchers.
“The hype of the drought has died off because people see green grass, but it’s not even close to being over. It’s still really scary for people with no break in sight for them. They’re not getting the support they’re needing.”
Ms Pring said the most positive thing is that as time has gone on, more people have been getting in contact with the Drought Muster team to ask for help.
Although thrilled about the nomination, Ms Pring said she doesn’t deserve all the credit for what she says is a whole team effort.
“The whole thing, it’s not just me, it is the whole team,” she said.
“It’s not what you expect, we don’t do what we do for praise, it just has to be done. What we’ve done, there’s a lot of people who would have done the same thing.
“Just being nominated, I don’t have the words for it, it’s really exciting. It has been a lot of time and effort and it was emotional and stressful, but the the people we’ve helped have been the most appreciative, down-to-earth people. This is just the icing on the cake.”
Last but not least, Ms Cosgrove has been nominated for the NSW Department of Education Early Childhood Educator Award for her dedication and commitment to completing a school-based traineeship with a local daycare facility which has led to full-time work for the recent Moree Secondary College HSC graduate.
Throughout year 11 and 12, Ms Cosgrove completed the traineeship with Moree Plains Shire Council at Gwydir Daycare, where she worked one day a week and half of her holidays to complete her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education.
“I’ve always had what my mum describes as a ‘magnet’ – kids will just magnetise to me wherever I go,” Ms Cosgrove said.
“I’ve always loved kids and loved being around them and looking after them. I enjoy watching them grow and change.”
Ms Cosgrove will be starting full-time employment with Gwydir Daycare in January, taking on a maternity leave position and will also be completing her Diploma of Early Childhood Education.
She said this nomination means a lot.
“I did my two years and worked really hard and this award and nomination is like the prize at the end,” she said.
“It shows all the hard work pays off.
“I’m very grateful that I have been nominated and that someone had taken the time to recognise my achievements and believed I should be recognised for them.”
“That was a privilege as well. Those nominations show I worked really hard and people are recognising that,” she said.
Nominations for the 2019 Seven News Young Achiever Awards were sought in the following categories:
- First National Real Estate Leadership Award
- Aboriginal Education Council Aboriginal Education Award
- Western Sydney University Academic Achievement Award
- Western Sydney University Science and Technology Award
- NSW Department of Education Early Childhood Educator Award
- Scouts NSW/ACT Youth Development Award
- NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation – Innovation Award
- Freemasons of NSW/ACT Community Service Award
- NSW Deputy Premier’s Regional Achiever Award
Judging will take place on Wednesday, December 12 before the finalists are presented and winners announced at an Awards Gala Presentation Dinner on Friday, March 1, 2019.
Category winners will each receive $1,000 cash and a $1,000 Bartercard account plus a trophy. Every nominee will receive a certificate of achievement. The NSW/ACT Young Achiever of the Year will receive $2,000 and a trophy.