Young humanitarians make a difference

DOMINIC College year six students Bianca Russell and Kitean Aitken have been recognised for their compassion, integrity and kindness at the Fred Hollows Humanity Award, announced at Parliament House in October.

A national initiative of The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Humanity Award acknowledges year six students who follow in Fred’s footsteps by demonstrating humanitarian values toward others.

The awards began in the ACT in 2012 and expanded to Tasmania in 2016.

With the 2017 event seeing a total of 419 students nominated nationally, Gabi Hollows said the “endless ideas and energy of young people” continued to act as a source of inspiration.

“It was wonderful to meet some of the students who are making a positive difference in their communities,” she said.

“Fred would have been incredibly proud of the contribution these students are making to society and of The Foundation for recognising and encouraging them to help others, no matter how big or small their actions.

“To all of this year’s Humanity Award recipients and to the 2017 Tasmanian Junior Ambassador, I offer my warmest congratulations and my heartfelt thanks.”

Bianca Russell was nominated for her dedicated role as year six president of Mini-Vinnies at Dominic College.

As a result of her hard work and leadership, her team now comprises 18 students working for poor and disadvantaged people.

Kitean Aitken, who is the Dominic College year six vice-captain, took the initiative to contact the McGrath Foundation to organise a Pink Stumps Day at the grand final of his cricket team, the Lindisfarne Blues.

Kitean’s efforts, together with the generosity of his cricket community, raised more than $1700 for the McGrath Foundation.

The Fred Hollows Foundation named Kitean as the 2017 Tasmanian Junior Ambassador.

Dominic College principal Beth Gilligan said she was proud the college had two students among the 33 Tasmanian nominees.

“Bianca has been an outstanding leader with our Mini-Vinnies this year, demonstrating wonderful commitment to those who are poor and disadvantaged,” she said.

“Kitean is an impressive agent for change and hope, his efforts to raise funds for the McGrath Foundation were admired across Hobart.”

Ms Gilligan said Kitean was already “exemplifying” at a young age, taking the initiative and service that Professor Hollows became so well known for internationally.

As a junior ambassador, Kitean will be able to extend his humanity by allocating $5000 – donated by charity partner Specsavers – to one of The Foundation’s programs to end avoidable blindness.

Kitean has chosen to support The Outback Eye Service, which delivers eye health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote western New South Wales.

Kitean said he chose the program as it focussed on social need in Australia.

“Our young man has a heart of gold and is always happy to help those in need,” Kitean’s parents Meegan and Mark Aitken said.

“We often get comments about his infectious smile and how happy he makes those around him.

“Kitean’s attitude towards others is a credit to himself and we look forward to watching him continue with his kindness as he continues life’s journey.”

The Fred Hollows Humanity Award will return to Tasmania in 2018.

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Caption: Dominic College year six students Bianca Russell and Kitean Aitken with Gabi Hollows, second from left, and Dominic College principal Beth Gilligan at the 2017 Fred Hollows Humanity Awards.

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