Teen proves it is COOL to volunteer

APOLLO BAY’S Grace McBride says everyone has a duty to help where they can.

Grace, 17, has won a Great Mate Award at the Colac Otway Outstanding Leadership, or COOL Awards, for her volunteer work.

The Trinity College Colac student has been a part of the school’s social justice group for four years, which gave her the opportunity to attend a World Vision Global Leadership Conference at Geelong last year.

From left, Colac Otway Outstanding Leadership Award winners Jarrod Betts, Grace McBride and Oryana Reid.

She has helped raise money for people in East Timor, participated in the 40-Hour Famine and she is a school prefect.

Grace said she was “shocked” to win the award.

“I do bits and pieces but I really just do my part,” she said.

“I do believe it’s just every human’s responsibility to do whatever they can, and become a small part of a large whole.”

Grace said Trinity teacher Christina Symons was one of her biggest inspirations.

“She’s very driven – I’m like her right-hand man and I just do what she says,” she said.

Grace said Trinity had a campaign to help East Timorese people living in poverty, using money boxes and selling fair-trade chocolate as part of Caritas’s Project Compassion.

She said hearing about Colac and district youths’ achievements at the COOL Awards was inspiring.

Apollo Bay’s Oryana Reid, a surf lifesaver, lifeguard and Apollo Bay community board youth advisory, won the Great Mate encouragement award.

Colac Secondary College’s Jarrod Betts, an Irrewarra Fire Brigade volunteer, received a special mention for his work with the Country Fire Authority and a video he made which the CFA has used in leadership courses.

Sharp Styles’ Brittany Moloney won the business award for her dedication to becoming a fully qualified hairdresser at the age of 19.

Youth Council member Josh Smith received an encouragement award in the open category for helping with Colac youth events, and Kate Prigg and Emily Marsh won the category for starting a card business, Heartfelt Cards.

Kate and Emily have raised about $300 for HeartKids by making greeting cards and selling them in Colac shops and online.

Trinity band Sophisticated Swing took out the performing arts award, with Alana Park earning an encouragement award for her artwork.

The sports category had seven nominations, with Kawarren’s Dean Towers coming second for his success in tennis, football and surf lifesaving.

Field umpire Regan Nelson won the sport award for being a role model for younger umpires.

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