The ‘Change Makers’ theme of this year’s National Volunteer Week certainly resonated with us. Particularly with our belief that Education changes lives. And families And communities. It seems the perfect time to formally thank our volunteers and take the opportunity to highlight our own outstanding Change Maker for 2023.
The Katie Walker Outstanding Service Award is an honour bestowed annually to a volunteer for their extraordinary efforts.
An independent panel joined the award namesake, board member, and volunteer advocate Katie Walker to review the compelling nominations.
After difficult deliberation and debate, the decision for 2023 was made.
We are thrilled to announce Robyn Phillips, a decade-long committee member and secretary of CEF Gwydir.
Katie Walker, CEF Founding Director
CEF Yass Volunteer
Outstanding Award namesake
Her efforts in encouraging and attracting local school leavers to apply for CEF funding has been fundamental to the success of the organisation.
Robyn has been involved with the Gwydir Branch of CEF for the past 10 years and has undertaken the role of Secretary since 2019. She has been instrumental in promoting the purpose and benefits of CEF Gwydir, and Country Education Foundation of Australia, for regional and remote students.
She understands the value of investing in the futures of our youth to ensure they have every opportunity to reach their potential. Our volunteers know that showing confidence in our recipients is as important as the funds provided.
Showing our regional youth that their community believes in them is life-changing.
Robyn’s devotion, commitment and enthusiasm for sourcing additional funding for CEF Gwydir has greatly contributed to it’s sustainability.
Whilst student well-being is paramount, Robyn appreciates that emotional support alone won’t buy textbooks. So she set to initiating high-profile fundraisers.
The song and dance of the ‘Oliver Twist’ performance was a local hit and fundraising event that put the CEF brand in front of the community.
The ‘Discover Gwydir Car Rally’ involves participants travelling throughout Gwydir Shire to complete tasks at designated locations. Robyn devoted her time and effort to planning the many details of what will be a memorable Rally on the Gwydir Shire calendar.
Robyn’s support for the recipients, and to other committee members, is no less than extraordinary. She understands the value of investing in the futures of our youth to ensure they have every opportunity to reach their potential.
CEF LIFE CHANGER
Thanks in large part to Robyn, we are now seeing a student flourishing in study, work and personal growth.
When Chelsea, a CEF Gwydir supported student, was going though an extremely challenging and difficult time, Robyn was there.
Going above and beyond without hesitation, providing a safe-haven, guidance and support for Chelsea, who explains the immense gratitude and respect she has for Robyn:
“Robyn is a kind and generous community leader, whose passion for helping disadvantaged children has been important to the ongoing success of the community and my own personal growth, as a young person.
I will always have a deep gratitude for her taking me under her wing. She not only supported me through financial needs but also provided a caring environment that fostered me through times of hardship.
Her ongoing dedication to my wellbeing has been a great pillar of support and encourages me to face challenges and pursue opportunities. Robyn has spent countless hours volunteering.
Her community oriented attitude is a great asset. She is both a professional and personal leader who is very well respected in the Gwydir community.
She is extremely deserving of this award. Robyn is one of my biggest role models and I will be forever grateful for our friendship.”
Chelsea Stevenson, CEF Gwydir
Bachelor of Agriculture
University of New England
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR CEF CHANGE MAKERS!
To our valued volunteers, thank you. Your time is precious and the fact you support CEF in the work you do is priceless. More importantly, the impact you have on your local youth and your community is a legacy that will have lifelong outcomes.
“Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.”
WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN OUR COMMUNITY OF AMAZING CHANGE MAKERS?