CSSA Award Winners

13 October 2008

The 2008 CSSA Awards were held during the CSSA National Conference in Brisbane.

CSSA would like to acknowledge the generous sponsorship contribution from Catholic Church Insurance who have supported this important event for many years.

The Perkins Award for Excellence in Service (Individual)

Ms Merrill Lymn

This award is presented to an individual who has shown outstanding commitment to service and is open to the general public. The award is presented in honour of Bishop Eric Perkins, who had a major impact on national Catholic social policy.

This award was presented to a woman whose determination and commitment to her local rural community has seen a local response that includes much educative work directed towards the rural community. Folk involved have included the rural workforce, health workers, local government and farmers and their partners. The number of male suicides in the region has subsequently dropped as Merrill was determined that other local men would not take their own lives. She introduced Men's Nights, collaborated with a local Drought Counsellor to coordinate the Family Matters Program and also instigated the Flying Nun Tour that toured in several communities. Her intervention and leadership in rural social care has meant better services for vulnerable people. Her efforts have also led to increased funding for a number of programs in the area.

Award for Excellence in Service (Organisational)

Whaddup Youth Program

This award is presented to the program which has most successfully met or is meeting the needs of a local community.

The Whaddup Youth Program, which aims to change anti social behaviour among Indigenous Youth in Toowoomba, was created by a local woman in response to the overrepresentation of young Indigenous people in the court system.

Indigenous Administrative Coordinator Stacey McCarthy, developed and implemented the program with support from a team of volunteers. Come Friday night, around 70 young Indigenous people and their non Indigenous friends are ferried to a venue where they enjoy a barbeque and sports and games. Everyone who attends is expected to actively take part. Respect for one another and the venue is a given. Inappropriate behaviour draws penalties ranging from cleaning the barbeque to suspension for a couple of weeks. Local Indigenous elders are delighted with the program and the project is also highly regarded in justice circles in Toowoomba. Other communities are keen to initiate similar programs.

Award for Excellence in Service (Organisational)
The Norma Parker Award for Most Innovative Program

The Norma Parker Award for Most Innovative Program

Marist Youth Care's Model: linking housing, health, education, training and employment outcomes for ‘at risk' young people

This award highlights outstanding achievement by a member of Catholic Social Services Australia which offers programs that set trends and benchmarks in their area of service. The award is presented in honour of Norma Parker, who co-founded Australia's first professionally organised child and family welfare agency.

At-risk youth living in Sydney's western suburbs are the beneficiaries of this truly innovative program run by Marist Youth Care, BoysTown (Qld) and TranZend. This ground breaking new program aims to foster a pathway to independence for at-risk youth by linking clinical and practical support, accommodation, health, training, education an employment programs. These young people are far from the mainstream. The intensively case managed program offers them stability and solidarity as they move towards a better future.