Western Australia’s Young Australian of the Year for 2014 John van Bockxmeer has started three successful charities, volunteered internationally and won an impressive list of awards. Oh yes, and he manages to fit in a job as an emergency department registrar too. Samille Mitchell has a chat with John about his major charity Fair Game, and is amazed at his motivation, his depth of feeling for healthy communities, and his incredible ability to fit so much into an already over-worked doctor’s schedule.
As someone who has leapt ice crevices, fought to save the environment, and narrowly avoided death by quick sand and baboons, Rebecca Millar has lived an extraordinary life so far. And, as director of Kalbarri’s cultural community celebration – the Zest Festival – she has become renowned for her ability to think big. But what gives someone the belief they can achieve something extraordinary? What instils them with the conviction they can make a difference? Samille Mitchell takes a look at Rebecca’s past in an attempt to find the answers.
French-born Perth woman Gaelle Beech is committed to transforming fashion from the stuff of sweat shops to a profitable industry that empowers craftspeople in the developing world.
Elliot Costello gave up a job in the corporate sector to dedicate his life to helping fight poverty. Through his non-profit YGAP, he has helped thousands by arming social entrepreneurs with the knowledge and resources to make a difference, whether it’s providing health advice to pregnant mothers in Africa or feeding the underprivileged in Australian schools.
Fired with dreams of becoming an artist from an early age, Holly Marsden long relied on art to bring her joy. However, art become so much more to her after she endured a vicious sexual assault. She turned to painting to get her through her darkest days and now guides others to pursue their passion for art. She believes, quite simply, that art has the power to save lives.
This Aussie lad launched a non-profit, Dreamfit, to fulfil the dreams of people with a disability. Dreamfit transforms mechanical equipment such a motorbikes and bicycles so people with varying levels of physical ability can experience the thrill of action once more. In the process Darren has captured the hearts of many for his innovative mind, caring nature and can-do attitude.
This young Danish woman has dedicated her life to saving Nigeria’s ‘witch children’. From one day to the next these children are branded a witch, ousted from their families, often tortured, sometimes murdered. Outraged at the horrific practice, Anja moved to Nigeria to rescue accused children. She then homes those she saves in an orphanage and seeks to overcome the horrors they’ve endured with the healing power of love.
Australian of the Year for the Northern Territory Will MacGregor has helped thousands of troubled Aboriginal youths to overcome drug addiction and find a new hope for life through Bush Mob, which offers a safe house, horse healing program and escorted bush getaways. He says it’s incredible to witness the transformations that occur when these people take a break from their everyday lives, connect with their elders and heal with the magic of nature.
Evie Farrell was drowning in the Sydney rat-race, disconnected from her five-year-old daughter and yearning for something more. After the unexpected death of a friend she decided enough was enough. She quit her job, rented out her house and embarked on an 18-month travel adventure to reconnect with her daughter. She has gained so much from the experience that she now urges other mums to unleash the chains of convention, swap possessions for memory-making and embrace the rich tapestry of experiences that travelling as a family can offer.
Shocked at the horrors of the Syrian refugee crisis, a young American mother is easing the burden for thousands of refugee families by donating thousands of baby carriers to people fleeing their war-ravaged homes. Through her now burgeoning charity Carry the Future, Cristal has not only helped refugees but also been personally transformed from a cynic to someone who is continually amazed by people’s genuine desire to do good in the world.
Parenting educator and author Maggie Dent has earned the love of a nation’s parents for her funny, practical and insightful advice on how to raise healthy and resilient children. What life path has Maggie travelled to become such an advocate for saving our stressed-out modern-day kids?
American dance instructor Lucy Wallace is transforming criminals serving long-term or life sentences by introducing them to the magic of dance. In doing so, she has forged powerful relationships with people she’d previously regarded with fear, had her preconceptions shattered, and discovered the beauty in regarding fellow human beings as they are, without the weight of judgement.