Local Citizen of the Year Awards

Australia Day award winners 2022

The 2022 Local Citizen of the Year award winners were announced by Mayor Jeff Pettett at a special ceremony on Australia Day.

The Ku-ring-gai Local Citizen of the Year Awards are presented each year in recognition of groups and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the local community. 

Ku-ring-gai Citizen of the Year Helen Jarvis

Helen's commitment to the local community of Ku-ring-gai is extraordinary. During her time at the Ku-ring-gai Youth Development Service or KYDS as its usually known, Helen has used her incredible energy and integrity to ensure children and young people in the community continue have access to free counselling and support.

Helen has overseen the growth and evolution of KYDS and guided the organisation through challenges with calmness, good humour and compassion. She expertly balances the need to support young people with the available resources of the KYDS' team. Helen has led the KYDs team through the COVID pandemic, when huge levels of distress and uncertainty impacted the mental health of many young people in the community.

In addition to the successes Helen has achieved in her leadership of KYDS, she has also built partnerships with other government and non-government organisations committed to improving young people’s mental health in the northern Sydney region. Helen's drive to reduce wait-times for young people to access services led to the formation of the Help Us to Help Them campaign fundraising for additional support for young people in northern Sydney.

KYDS help young people understand and manage difficult issues in their lives by providing accessible personalised counselling and mental health support, early intervention, wellbeing workshops and information events. This is made possible because of dedicated people like Helen.

Ku-ring-gai Environmental Citizen of the Year Jen Stokes

Jen has coordinated the Ku-ring-gai Boomerang Bags group for more than five years. She has worked to raise awareness about waste in our community by repurposing fabric into reusable shopping bags. Boomerang Bags also makes bags for women fleeing domestic violence and sews for other charities such as Heart Kids and for Smiles to You.

Jen is always looking for practical solutions to help organisations reduce their waste and their impact on the environment. She helps coordinate the West Pymble community garden, where she has helped install water saving wicking beds, plants that encourage beneficial insects and herbs for use by local residents.

Ku-ring-gai’s Young Environmental Citizen of the Year Oliver Conolly

Olliver at just 11 years old is already a keen ornithologist with a passion for protecting vulnerable bird species. He uses his artistic skills to raise awareness of Ku-ring-gai’s vulnerable bird populations by selling cards with his drawings on them. In 2021 was a finalist in the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Threatened Species Art Competition. Oliver has a wide knowledge of all the bird species living in the local area and the threats they face.

Oliver also has a thorough understanding of effective solutions to ensure their future protection. He can often be found out and about on the weekends early in the morning with his camera, monitoring the health and activity of local birds.

Mayors Award for Contribution to the Community - Group Easy Care Gardening

The EasyCare Gardening team of volunteer gardeners work across Ku-ring-gai helping housebound, elderly and vulnerable residents maintain their gardens. The team has been quietly providing gardening services through its volunteers for over 30 years, allowing our senior citizens to stay in their homes longer. EasyCare gardening always welcomes new volunteers as there are more elderly people in our community requiring the use of our services. Registering for volunteering can be made through the Easy Care Gardening website.

Mayors Award for Contribution to the Community - Individual Yoel Hyman

Yoel was awarded for his many forms of volunteering in the Ku-ring-gai community. These include firefighting with the Killara RFS, representing the community on the St Ives Traffic Forum and St Ives High P&C and acting as a volunteer administrator for the St Ives community Facebook page.

Ku-ring-gai congratulate the winners and all the many hundreds of other volunteers who have worked round the clock to help local people. Australia Day is the perfect day to recognise their contribution.