CAREVAN is turning lives around and yesterday it was recognised for its work.
With more than 400 volunteers, Carevan was named NSW Volunteer Team of the Year by Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello.
In October Carevan was named the Murray Region’s volunteer team of the year, earning it a place at yesterday’s state awards at the NSW Leagues Club.
Proof of Carevan’s success since it was established in 2010 came in the form of Snowie, a former homeless man.
Snowie (not his real name) used to use alcohol to numb the pain of his darkest moments.
Today he lives in a one-bedroom apartment and is one of Carevan’s most valued volunteers.
He was in Sydney yesterday to collect the award with his fellow volunteers.
Carevan chief executive Jodie Tiernan witnessed a special moment during the day.
“The honourable Victor Dominello took Snowie aside and had a long chat with him,” she said.
“He was a homeless person in Albury but when Carevan came along he gave up the grog.”
She said the award couldn’t have happened without the support of a caring Border community, particularly students.
“We’ve donated over 20,000 meals since we started,” Ms Tiernan said.
“This is for the volunteers and also the schools who cook and the kids who might donate a tin of spaghetti.”
Ms Tiernan and Snowie were joined in Sydney by Albury councillor Daryl Betteridge who nominated the team, treasurer Sally Wilson, founder John Brabant and volunteer David Dow.
She said Carevan was gearing up for a big announcement next week.
“It regards drug and alcohol problems among the Border’s youth but that’s all I can say,” Ms Tiernan said.
Founder of Neighbour Day Andrew Heslop was named NSW individual Volunteer of the Year.
Neighbour Day urges people to become more connected with their neighbours and to help the more vulnerable in their communities.