Charlie Wilson and Sienna Santuccione were honoured as joint winners of the 2022 Northern Grampians Shire Young Citizens of the Year at the Australia Day Awards Ceremony on January 26.
Both individuals were nominated due to the courage and leadership qualities they demonstrated within 2021.
Charlie Wilson advocated for forming a group for young people who identify as LGBTIQ+ and successfully worked with GCH to create a group known as the Rainbow Alliance.
Charlie's group supports five local young people and reviews requests from 15 additional young people who want to join the group.
These requests are from young citizens aged 13-21 years from as far afield as Hamilton.
Cr Lauren Dempsey said Charlie had done a "brilliant job" accommodating LGBTQI+ youth in the region.
"In 2021 this person identified a need in the community for more support for young people who identify as LGBTQ+ in the region as the nearest support group at the time was in Horsham or Ballarat," she said.
"This person has shown outstanding leadership, courage, advocacy and selflessness and commitment to supporting the rights and welfare of young LGBTQIA people.
"They are an active community member of the Grampians Youth events FReeZA group based in Stawell and participated in the Western Bulldogs Youth Leadership Foundation in 2021."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Sienna Santuccione was nominated for the award thanks to her fundraising efforts.
After Sienna's mum was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she decided to partaking in a 50km perpetual run throughout May to raise funds and awareness for MS.
Sienna and her friends formed the group 'Glitter Angels' and raised more that $13,000 Angels" ran and raised a further $13,015 for the cause.
Cr Dempsey said Sienna participation in the challenge was "crazy, but amazing".
"She set out with a energy and maturity which was beyond their years," she said.
"Not only did she take on the courage themselves, but they inspired local families to participate as well.
"She displays leadership qualities when addressing the members of the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club prior to a scheduled run and calmly and confidently spoke to the group explaining what they wanted to do and why."
Sienna is also a member of the Inter-church netball competition and hopes to initiate a Social Justice Club at Stawell Secondary College this year.
"Thank you to my mum for giving me the inspiration to do this fundraising event," Sienna said.
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