Australia Day Awards: Parramatta honors local citizens

LOCAL community organisations and individuals who have gone above and beyond to support the community have been honored at the City of Parramatta’s 2022 Australia Day Citizen of the Year Awards.

Award recipients were announced at a COVID-safe event at Rosehill Gardens, following a special Lord Mayor’s Citizenship Ceremony where a small group of local residents received their Australian Citizenship. They hail from Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, Jordan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, the Syrian Arab Republic, United Kingdom and United States of America.

“The challenges presented by the pandemic over the last couple of years have really highlighted the incredible role individuals, local organisations and charities play in supporting our community,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Donna Davis said.

“Our Australia Day Citizen of the Year Awards give us an opportunity to recognise some of the excellent work that is being done by so many hard-working individuals and groups across our City to help others every single day. Their tireless dedication and generosity deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.”

“We are also thrilled to congratulate our newest Australian citizens on this momentous occasion. More than 120 nationalities and over 84 languages are represented in our City and that’s what makes our community so unique and special.”

Alicia Judge, an inclusion and diversity manager at Scribbles and Giggles Childcare Centres, took home the Young Citizen of the Year award for her efforts in working with families and connecting them with the right tools to help support their child’s needs.

Amar Singh, founding president of the Sikh charity Turbans 4 Australia, was awarded Citizen of the Year for his efforts in distributing donated goods to individuals and other Western Sydney charities in need throughout the pandemic.

The Senior Citizen of the Year Award went to volunteer Bipin Johri in recognition of his work helping adults and seniors improve their digital skills through his workshops at Dundas Library.

The Homicide Victims’ Support Group, an organisation that provides support to people who have lost a loved one through homicide, received the Community Group Award. The Group organises meetups, offers counselling and education, and advocates for criminal justice reform. Their next project is establishing ‘Grace’s Place’, a trauma recovery centre for grieving children and young people.

In addition to its high calibre of nominees and winners, the City of Parramatta is proud to have Ben Farinazzo, a veteran and dual Invictus Games gold medallist, as this year’s Australia Day Ambassador. Ben is a proud and passionate advocate for veterans, mental health, the healing power of sport, and is an Ambassador for Lifeline and Soldier On Australia.

“On behalf of the City of Parramatta, I would like to thank all our winners and nominees for the tireless work they do to support our community and make our City a better place to live,” Cr Davis said.

The 2022 City of Parramatta Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award winners are:

Young Citizen of the Year – Alicia Judge
In her role as inclusion and diversity manager for Scribbles and Giggles Childcare Centres, Alicia spends many hours outside of work supporting and guiding families to best meet their child’s needs. She mentors more than 80 employees to ensure they are well-educated and informed about each child’s needs and has created a community where families, educators and children collaborate to achieve an inclusive educational and lifestyle plan. Alicia is passionate about helping everyone, especially children with additional needs.

Citizen of the Year – Amar Singh
Amar is the founding president of Turbans 4 Australia, a Sikh charity organisation based in the Parramatta Local Government Area (LGA). His passion is forming connections with people from all walks of life and breaking down the barriers of fear and misunderstanding, while following the core Sikh values of equality, respect and service to humanity. Amar has provided assistance where there were large gaps in support, especially regarding the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community. During the pandemic, he helped pick up and deliver donated goods via Amar’s trucking company.

Senior of the Year – Bipin Johri
Bipin has volunteered at Dundas Library since September 2015, assisting community members to bridge gaps in their digital skills. Through his workshops, Bipin has shown seniors how to overcome technology hesitancy by teaching them basic computer skills, as well as how to use smart home devices, online banking and shopping websites, and other essential skills during the pandemic.

Community Group Award – Homicide Victims’ Support Group (Aust) Inc
The Homicide Victim’s Support Group (HVSG) is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting families and friends who have lost a loved one through homicide. Located in Parramatta and founded in 1993, HVSG has provided support and services to approximately 4,200 people to date. HVSG runs programs for the NSW Police, offering education and coaching in homicide victim support. Through their fundraising efforts HVSG has started construction on ‘Grace’s Place’, a trauma recovery centre that will be a unique place of healing and restoration for grieving children and young people.

Caption: Senior of the Year – Bipin Johri.

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