Hayden Rujak (Year 8) and his sister, Stephanie, were nominated in the Victorian Young Achiever Awards for the work they do to create change through their charity Haydenâ€™s Helping Hands and have now been selected as finalists in the category of â€˜The Bridge Create Change Awardâ€™.
The Bridge Create Change Award recognises young people that are driving activities, programs and initiatives that promote or create change. Their selection as finalists, reflects the work they do, to support people experiencing homelessness, to enable other youth to volunteer and make a difference, and to raise awareness of the needs of the homeless via visiting local kindergartens and schools and presenting. Hayden and Stephanie locally have created a ripple effect among young people through outreaches every weekend since the beginning of 2015, fundraising and goods gathering. That effort has resulted in over $100,000 of relief provided up until June last year and significant more since that time.
COVID-19 has seen the need for their support service grow. In addition to supporting the homeless, Haydenâ€™s Helping Hands has also been called on to support struggling families in the north/north eastern suburbs with food hampers, toiletries and food vouchers worth over $14,000 since COVID isolation began. But it has not been easy, with COVID transmission concerns meaning Hayden, Stephanie and their core team shouldering much of the load with both volunteering and fundraising activities on hold.
So, they now need our help. One opportunity they have to fundraise has been presented to them from the Young Achiever Award â€˜Peopleâ€™s Choice Awardâ€™. The Finalist, who receives the most votes in this award, will receive a voucher for a 2-night luxury midweek stay at the Linden Gardens Rainforest Retreat in the heart of Mount Dandenong. If they are lucky enough to win, the prize will be auctioned as a fundraiser to help provide more relief for those who need it. You can vote once a day, every day between now and the awards in September â€“ at awardsaustralia.app.do/vicyaa20
Of course, there are many other ways as well that you can support them. To find out more have a chat to Hayden or visit his website or Facebook page. (haydenshelpinghands.org/ facebook.com/HaydensHelpers/ )
What a wonderful example of care, compassion and servant leadership â€“ congratulations Hayden and Stephanie.
Mr Mick Lafferty
Deputy Principal – Students