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NAIDOC Awards winners, NAIDOC events + Different drivers for giving

2 July 2019

NAIDOC week 

Hi everyone,

Every year in July we celebrate NAIDOC week to recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It’s a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Yesterday we had the flag-raising ceremony at the North Melbourne office. We also had a specially made NAIDOC cake to mark the event. 

From left: Jane Lazzari (Senior Officer – Participation and Inclusion Migration Support Programs), Lineesha Johnson (Senior Project Officer, National Community Programs), Selina Grizos (Community Action Coordinator Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Engagement Victoria) and Kevin Leeder (Culture and Capability Business Partner).

I am on holidays this week down on the NSW South Coast. Unfortunately the NAIDOC events there don’t start until next Monday but I will search out a way to be involved. 

I encourage you to take part in the NAIDOC events taking place at your local Red Cross offices or in your community. We can all learn more about our shared history including its confronting and painful truths. In the words of Kevin Leeder (Culture and Capability Business Partner), “NAIDOC week is for all Australians, not just for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

NAIDOC Awards winners

Congratulations to Aunty Robyne Jones, Aunty Carol Reid, Derrick Oliver, Lee Prouse and Vicki Lonsdale-Micallef who have received the Red Cross NAIDOC Awards this year. Here are some snippets about our winners.

Creativity & Leadership - Vicki Lonsdale-Micallef 

As the Aboriginal Support Worker in Western Sydney, Vicki works in juvenile justice to mentor young people. She’s a valuable part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Team in Blacktown. Vicki is known for being the quiet achiever, her willingness to share her culture and suggestions to improve the ways of working within the office. Vicki is always there to provide support for those who may need it; setting up programs and organising events and activities.

Commemorative award - Aunty Robyne Jones & Aunty Carol Reid
In recognition and honour of their significant contribution to volunteering 

For the past six years, Aunty Robyne has been visiting the Reiby Juvenile Justice Centre to spend time with the girls, most of whom are from country and don’t get visits from family and friends. She starts her visit with an acknowledgement to country and builds a great rapport with them, one of the young women met Aunty Robyne when she was 13 and continued to stay in touch with Aunty Robyn after she left the centre at 17. You’ll also see Aunty Robyne at the Blacktown office every Wednesday making Teleyarn calls to Elders who may be isolated.

Aunty Carol spends her Saturdays at the same justice centre and has been a nanny figure to the girls there for the past six years. The girls regardless of their backgrounds, would run and put their arms around her for a hug. Aunty Carol loves the girls she meets, and they love her because she never judges them on the mistakes they might make. 

Leadership – Lee Prouse & Derrick Oliver

Many of you would know Lee as the Co-Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Team. Lee is also on of our Reconciliation Action Plan champions and speaks at many internal and external forums to influence change and garner support. As a leader, Lee always brings a strong, clear and collaborative approach. He provided important contributions to HR to grow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership within Red Cross and to building our Cultural Ladder. He also willingly shares his experiences and is a key contributor to The Constellation Project

Ask any of the guests at the Cairns Wellbeing Centre about Derrick and many would agree that he’s the face of the centre. Derrick is the Cultural Liaison Officer, for the centre which provides accommodation to people and families from remote areas needing medical treatment in Cairns. Derrick is the first point of contact for the guests who stay at the Centre, 95 per cent of whom are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. For many guests, especially older people from remote communities, being away from home and in the ‘big smoke’ is a big deal. Derrick knows most of the family relationships throughout Cape York and is always able to make people feel comfortable and at home when they arrive. Whether it be through appropriate language, culturally safe support, or just being there for mob who need a chat, or to share a joke, Derrick is always there.


The Save-A-Mate program was recently shortlisted for the Education category at the 2019 National Alcohol and Other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards. The Awards encourage, recognise and celebrate achievements of individuals and organisations that do exceptional work to prevent and reduce the harm and impact of alcohol and other drugs in Australia.  

While the award went to Wodonga Council and Dutch Media for their Who’s it Gonna Hurt? campaign, it was a great honour to be shortlisted with six other great nominees.

We started the Save-A-Mate program in 1997 to promote the health and wellbeing of young people by providing education, service and support on key current and emerging health issues, particularly those related to alcohol and other drug use and mental health. The program is now available across the country from urban centres to rural and remote communities.

Different drivers for giving

We’ve been there for people and communities in Australia experiencing vulnerability for over 100 years. In looking to the next 100 years, we know we must continue to evolve. Listen in on an interesting conversation on The Drum, a Philanthropy Special, summarising the changing landscape of giving to the not-for-profit sector; its opportunities and challenges. It talks about the role of traditional giving (like door-knocking) and the growing disruption of other platforms and ways for giving (eg online fundraising pages, collective giving, and philanthropy), and the increasing need to show the connection between our supporters and the difference we can achieve with their support.

International Solferino Youth Meeting

I mentioned last week how we’re learning a lot from the REDxYouth members who were at the annual Solferino conference where they celebrated the International Federation’s 100th anniversary and the Movement’s future directions and Strategy 2030. We supported two young Australians Zahra Al Hilaly and Tiyana Jovanovic to participate in the event and represent the growing REDxYouth network and to test new ways to engage young people. They were both selected based on their outstanding humanitarian work within their own communities, as well as on their creative capacities as storytellers and communicators. Later this month, Zahra and Tiyana will be sharing their experience and insights and answering questions from the REDxYouth network.

That’s all for this week. Have a great time at NAIDOC week. I know I will.