Community Achievement Awards
Melton City Council's Community Achievement Awards (CAA) program is an annual celebration which recognises the remarkable service of Community Leaders & Volunteers across the municipality; and celebrates their significant contributions to the community.
These awards are for Melton residents who inspire individual and community pride and help make this community an even better place to live, whether through their work as an individual volunteer or by clearly exceeding normal requirements of their paid work.
2024 Community Achievement Awards
On Thursday 9 November 2023, over 130 community members across the municipality celebrated the 36 Community Achievement Award nominees and 6 award recipients.
This special event provided opportunities to recognise the efforts some of our City’s best; the individuals who are the embodiment of community leadership; who volunteer their time and go above and beyond in their paid work.
Congratulations again to the following award recipients:
- Citizen of the Year: Claire Mouser
- Young Citizen of the Year: Comfort Kennedy & Mollie VanDer Linden
- Access and Inclusion Leader of the Year: Lucas Murana
- Gender Equity Leader of the Year: Kirisome Ronick Jnr Lam
- Intercultural Engagement Leader of the Year: Mashair Mohammed Abdalla
Left to right: Cr Lara Carli, Mollie Vander Linden, Cr Julie Shannon, Comfort Kennedy, Deputy Mayor Steve Abboushi, Mayor Kathy Majdlik, Mashair Mohammed Abdalla, Claire Mouser, Kirisome Ronick Jnr Lam, Lucas Murana and Cr Bob Turner.
Nominations for next year’s Community Achievement Awards open in May 2024.
Citizen of the Year
This award is in recognition of ongoing community leadership, commitment to improving community access, participation and involvement as well as fostering community partnerships.
Young Citizen of the Year
This award is for young people under the age of 25 years, and is in recognition of ongoing community leadership, commitment to improving community access, participation and involvement as well as fostering community partnerships.
Access and Inclusion Leader of the Year
This award is in recognition of ongoing community leadership, commitment to improving community access, participation and involvement as well as fostering community partnerships, with an emphasis on advancing disability access and inclusion in the City of Melton.
Gender Equity Leader of the Year
This award is in recognition of ongoing community leadership, commitment to improving community access, participation and involvement as well as fostering community partnerships, with an emphasis on promoting gender equality and advancing status of women in the City of Melton.
Intercultural Engagement Leader of the Year
This award is in recognition of ongoing community leadership, commitment to improving community access, participation and involvement as well as fostering community partnerships, with an emphasis on advancing intercultural engagement in the City of Melton.
Contact Awards Team
For more information or to discuss the Community Achievement Awards, please contact our Community Grants and Awards Officer on 9747 7247 or email: email@example.com.
2024 Community Achievement Award Winners
Citizen of the Year: Claire Mouser
Claire Mouser is a genuine contributor to the community, through her work with the 1st Caroline Springs Scout Group and partnerships with many different local organisations, including the Caroline Springs RSL.
Claire is the Community Development Manager at Woodlea for over five years and has been responsible for developing effective relationships and networks with community members, agencies, retailers and sporting groups.
Claire’s overarching mandate is to develop the community’s connectedness and improve wellbeing within Woodlea and the region. She has achieved this through organising events, fundraising opportunities and art murals for the Walk of Honour.
Young Citizen of the Year: Comfort Kennedy & Mollie VanDer Linden
Comfort Kennedy is a very active, dedicated and compassionate volunteer community leader with engagements in the Equip Church, Youth Advisory Committee at Melton City Council and an English tutor at the Djerriwarrh Community and Education Services.
Comfort has made tremendous impact on the lives of migrants and refugees in Melton by teaching them English, Australian culture and settlement topics. Comfort is passionate about teaching and empowering the community, across all generations and cultures. She is committed to mentoring young and older team members at the Equip Church and supports their learning through training materials and social gatherings.
Mollie VanDer Linden has been involved with Specialist Hoops Basketball for over four years, and has an aptitude for helping others, whether Coaching, supporting with tournaments or School Holiday programs, or as part of the Student Leadership Team at her school. Mollie has shown dedication and compassion in working with people living with disabilities and has encouraged community involvement through her persistent attendance and drive to support others.
Access and Inclusion Leader of the Year: Lucas Murana
Lucas Murana is the dedicated coach at Westside Strikers. Since his involvement as coach, Lucas has gone above and beyond to support children with neurodiversity, specifically those with Autism, and has made tremendous efforts to ensure they feel included and valued within the Westside Strikers community. His actions have demonstrated exceptional compassion, understanding, and a genuine desire to create an environment where children with disabilities feel wanted and accepted.
Lucas leads by example, demonstrating empathy, patience, and kindness in his interactions with each child. He celebrates individual achievements, promotes a growth mindset, and encourages every player to reach their full potential.
Gender Equity Leader of the Year: Kirisome Ronick Jnr Lam
Kirisome is an active volunteer through the Melton Secondary College and Melton Warriors Rugby Club. His roles have included peer support, community assistance, cultural awareness and language translation. More recently, Kirisome has become a male champion participant of Girl Force – and is braving the challenge to change the status quo in support of girls and women.
Kirisome leads by example and is very thoughtful when addressing matters that affect him or his peers. His pledge is to never compromise human relationships.
Intercultural Engagement Leader of the Year: Mashair Mohammed Abdalla
Mashair is an exceptional community volunteer for the Somali Women Development Association Inc. and is an outstanding elementary teacher.
For the past five years Mashair has gone above and beyond by selflessly dedicating her time and efforts on a volunteer basis to support the Sudanese and South Sudanese communities in Melton, specifically children, youth, and families.
Her actions demonstrate a deep commitment to empowering and supporting the African community in Melton, ultimately contributing to the development and well-being of the community as a whole.
Moreover, Mashair has advanced intercultural issues by promoting understanding and inclusivity. She has fostered dialogue and cooperation between different cultural groups in Melton helping to bridge gaps and promote harmony.
2023 Community Achievement Award Winners
Citizen of the Year: Les Chitts
Les has been involved in some capacity with community work since he was young. He has had strong influence in the disability field and has given enormously to ensure that the City of Melton is inclusive and accessible for people living with disability. Les has established groups and held board member positions for a number of disability services.
Les has also been a key member of the Melton Lions Club, being involved in many fundraising initiatives for the community.
He is a regular Friday night volunteer at ‘The GAP on Graham’ youth centre, where he enjoys providing and facilitating a range of services and activities for Melton’s young people. Les has volunteered for the past 3-4 years as a driving mentor with the L2P program, assisting underprivileged young people to gain the 120 hours of driving practice that they require to get their Probationary Licence.
And more recently, Les joined the Harkness Cemetery Advisory Group, where he is supporting the ongoing development of a new cemetery in Harkness.
Young Citizen of the Year: Shilpa Kumar
Shilpa is a passionate young person, addressing life in a positive manner while overcoming many challenges and embracing her cerebral palsy.
Through her business, Australian Integrated Marketing and Merchandise Services, Shilpa provides a platform for other people with disabilities to sell their products, earn an income and boost their morale. They put together hampers for occasions such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day and personally deliver them to people in the community that they know are going through difficult times.
Shilpa is a role model for many individuals. She advocates publicly for the disability sector and is involved in many community events.
Disability Access and Inclusion Leader of the Year: John McVie
John has been an integral part of Specialist Hoops basketball program since 2020 – an organisation that provides a safe, non-judgmental environment for those living with disabilities to participate in sports.
John is constantly looking for new ways to engage participants and works to provide the best experience and opportunity for participants to play basketball both on foot and in wheelchairs. John actively communicates and builds relationships and is always seeking new ways of teaching and ways to adapt to different situations and challenges that individual participants may face.
John brings fresh ideas and finds ways to include people living with disabilities, so no one gets left behind and proves that inclusion is possible.
Intercultural Engagement Leader of the Year: Daphrose Tuylsabe
Daphrose is a proud founding member of the Iteka Youth Organisation and is often seen performing for Club Iteka – Burundian dance group. Daphrose networks with the wider community to secure events and performances for Club Iteka to share their cultural dance and heritage.
Daphrose is a Year 12 Student leader at Staughton College and has proven to be a fantastic role model to her peers and younger students. She has grasped all opportunities provided to her during her schooling.
2022 Community Achievement Award Winners
Citizen of the Year: Murray Lewis
Murray has been an active member of the RSL for more than four decades, and in recent years he has been a driving force in the development and operations of the Caroline Springs RSL.
Some of Murray’s contributions to the Melton community include being the co-founder of the Caroline Springs RSL Sub-Branch; acting as a Pensions Advocate for Veterans at Melton Vietnam Veterans Centre; initiating proceedings for the first Memorial at Caroline Springs; being caretaker of the Memorial Walk in Aintree; and being a key support person for the Burnside Village War Widows Group. Murray’s decades of service have helped hundreds of veterans and their families receive both support and recognition for their sacrifice.
Young Citizens of the Year: Grace Jikotani & Ivanka Portelli
Grace is a youth leader for Melton’s Fijian community who has ensured that their young people meet regularly and share their stories so that they can learn from each other, appreciate their culture, and become good role models to others in the City of Melton. She has led the BULA Meke youth group, an entertainment group that showcases the proud and rich culture through traditional Fijian dances. Grace has led the cultural group to represent the Fijian community at events such as Djerrwarrh festival, Dream Big festival, Harmony Day and other local community events in Melton.
During the periods of metro Melbourne’s COVID-19 restrictions, Ivanka worked hard to try to reduce the sense of social isolation and loss of connection for many individuals and families. Throughout lockdown Ivanka was going door to door delivering care packages to families in Caroline Springs. Each package was hand crafted with individualised notes containing kind and encouraging words and self-care tips. This allowed people to feel connected and a little less alone.
Access and Inclusion Leader of the Year: Michelle Magundayao
Michelle has been a strong advocate for supporting people with disability to gain their confidence and independence and become active members in the community.
She actively works to identify barriers to inclusion for people with a disability and improve their participation in, and connection to, their community. She is involved in Melton’s Care Expo, has worked at developing employment, education, and training opportunities, as well as liaising with key organisations to improve participation and facilities for people with a disability.
Gender Equity Leader of the Year: Margaret Hinks
Margaret has made a significant contribution to her local community and the Zonta Club of Melton. She has worked tirelessly in support of several initiatives designed to empower women, improve their self-esteem, and initiate change.
Her activities have been as diverse as co-ordinating sewing classes at the women’s prison, supporting the provision of birthing kits and breast care cushions, or her involvement in events such as 16 Days of Activism and White Ribbon Day. Margaret’s activities are underpinned by the belief that by empowering women, we build a stronger and more connected community.
Intercultural Engagement Leader of the Year: Ornella Niyonzima
Ornella has been instrumental in the creation of Club Iteka, a Burundian dance group that aims to share Burundian culture with young people and keep them connected to their roots.
Ornella's passion and leadership has inspired many young girls to join the group, as well as bringing the culture alive to the wider community. Ornella is a passionate advocate, leader, and cultural ambassador for her community and continues to raise awareness of the beauty of the Burundian culture and dance.