A trainee case manager with Tweed Shire Council has been named Young Achiever of the Year at a NSW conference for Aborigines in local government.
Tweed Heads resident Paris Robinson, who has been working with council’s Community Options Program (COPS), said she was extremely honoured by the award, announced during a ceremony for the 2014 Local Government Aboriginal Network Conference in Narrandera last week.
‘This award means so much to me. It’s confirmation that my determination and commitment to my educational and career goals have been successful so far,’ Ms Robinson, 29, said.
‘I was humbled just to have been nominated by my supervisors and cherish my role with the Community Options team, helping other people to meet their goals.
‘Not only does this award warm my heart, it also shows the wider community that once goals are set they can be achieved, no matter who you are and what barriers are in your way.’
Ms Robinson grew up in Sydney’s Waterloo and Redfern areas but proudly identifies as an Aboriginal woman from this region’s Bundjalung country.
She has lived in Tweed Heads for the past 10 years and has worked with Council since October 2013, initially as a work experience placement before gaining employment as a trainee case manager in February.
According to her nomination for the award, Ms Robinson had a great deal to contribute to welfare services because of her own experiences in life and her determination to help address issues faced by Aboriginal people.
She is studying for a degree in social welfare and aspires to becoming an Indigenous community development officer or community capacity building officer.
Since starting with council, Ms Robinson has initiated and coordinated an Indigenous forum focusing on planning for the future, and launched plans for a storytelling and photo book project.
She won TAFE NSW’s Gili Award for Indigenous Academic Excellence and is an integral part of the Tweed Aboriginal community, volunteering in a number of groups including the Tweed NAIDOC committee.
Council’s community development officer Robert Appo said Ms Robinson had impressed very quickly during her time as a trainee case manager, with tremendous dedication and hard work.
The Aboriginal Learning Liaison Officer at TAFE NSW’s Kingscliff campus, Michelle Laurie, said Ms Robinson had a lot to offer to help improve the lives of disadvantaged people in the community.
‘She is passionate and advocates articulately for the people she is supporting.
‘Paris has overcome many challenges to apply herself to her studies and to achieve her high level of academic and personal outcomes.’
Council had further success at the conference when it was announced it had won the right to host the event in Tweed Shire in 2016.