Some of Boroondara’s most outstanding community members were celebrated at this year’s Boroondara Citizen of the Year Awards.
These selfless individuals – and the remarkable contributions they make to Boroondara life - were recognised at a special ceremony on Australia Day at the Hawthorn Arts Centre.
John Hudson, Citizen of the Year
John Hudson has been involved in community life for decades, volunteering his time and expertise to enrich the lives of others, and help those in need. After retiring from the world of accounting, John decided to devote even more of his time to giving back.
A long-time Rotarian, John has worked tirelessly on many community projects and fundraisers, and has been the driving force behind the organisation and coordination of the Boroondara Farmers Market (a major fundraiser for Glenferrie Rotary Club) for over 10 years, providing leadership and volunteering more than 30 hours a month.
In addition to his fundraising efforts, John also lends his accounting skills to ensure local rotary initiative, the Chances Scholarship program, is a success. The scholarship has been operating for more than 10 years and supports educational opportunities for promising local state school secondary students experiencing financial hardship. Every Boroondara student recipient helped by this initiative has successfully completed their VCE and transitioned to tertiary education.
Rohan Hodges, Young Citizen of the Year
Sixteen-year-old Rohan Hodges has shown outstanding leadership skills and a commitment to helping others through his involvement in a number of community-focused initiatives and fundraisers.
A passionate environmentalist and natural leader, Rohan has raised significant funds for a number of local environmental not-for-profits, participated in the Lord Mayor’s Youth in Philanthropy program, and recently rose to the rank of Sergeant in the Camberwell Grammar School Army Cadet Unit.
He has also achieved the level of black belt with two dans in karate, and taken part in a number of social causes including Projec10, which fights global poverty.
Anne-Maree Polimeni, Special Commendation
After her third son was stillborn, Anne-Maree Polimeni began advocating for greater awareness of the issue, to combat the stigmatisation and social isolation felt by many grieving parents in this situation.
Anne-Maree has spoken publicly since her son died, showing courage and bravery despite her own grief, in the hope that others don’t feel so alone.
As well as raising significant funds for the Stillbirth Foundation of Australia, Anne-Maree has lobbied the Victorian Government to officially recognise International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
On Wednesday 22 August 2018, a motion in the Legislative Council to do so was unanimously supported.