Two Brimbank community leaders have been named the joint Brimbank citizen of the year.
Marion DeLeon and Tara Tran were named the winners of the Brimbank Council’s highest honor as a ceremony on Australia Day.
Sir. DeLeon, chair of the Philippine Community Council in Victoria, has worked to lead transformation services for the Philippine-Australian and wider community.
His vision is to build a strong Filipino-Australian community in Victoria.
Sir. DeLeon has led the organization to provide important support to the Filipino-Australian community.
This included social, well-being, economic and cultural support to society, which is particularly important during the ongoing pandemic situation.
He is also a digital mentor and helps provide emergency assistance through the Victorian Council of Social Services.
Mr. DeLeon’s community service performance has secured $ 114 million in grants for a number of community benefit projects. This includes funding for emergency food aid, support for international students, training and capacity building programs, and support digital learning for people aged 50 and over.
Sir. DeLeon said that once you start getting involved in the community, you naturally keep getting involved.
He said he accidentally got involved in volunteer work and now his heart belongs to the community.
“It’s addictive and you do not realize you’re doing so much,” he said.
“It feels surreal, I did not expect this.
“This really reflects what it’s like to be an Australian and be involved in so many local events.
“This recognizes the hard work we have done in society.”
When the pandemic started, Mrs Tran and a group of friends started Vietlove, which is now one of the largest non-profit community organizations in Brimbank.
The VietLove not-for-profit community group has supported more than three thousand community members. The work involves providing English tuition, mental support to vulnerable people, especially victims of domestic violence, and legal assistance, including to victims of domestic violence, as well as interpreting and online administrative assistance during the COVID pandemic.
Mrs Tran said this price was completely unexpected. She said there had been massive support for the organization as it continued to grow.
“It’s very valuable to me when I do this work,” she said. “When the community came [needing help] we just did what we could, i could not expect it to be that big.
“We have 20,000 followers and followers of the group now.”
Mrs Tran said one of the most important things they sought to achieve was to ensure that everyone had equal rights in their workplace and throughout the country.
She said they were willing to help anyone who needed it.
“This award is not just for me the whole community. For Australia, the Brimbank City Council and any other person who had supported me.”
It is set to be some busy months for Mrs Tran, who is set to run as an independent for the Senate in the federal election.
Brimbank Mayor Jasmine Nguyen congratulated all the winners.
“I would also like to congratulate all the nominees for their contribution to our great city and thank them for their commitment and valued work in the community.
“These awards are an opportunity for us as a community to celebrate the people who, through their unique efforts, are helping to strengthen the Brimbank community.”