Disability Advocate Wins Changemaker Honour
12 November 2013 at 10:25 am
Disability advocate Jordan O’Reilly, from Brookvale NSW, has been named Foundation for Young Australian’s Changemaker of the Year for his work tackling the social isolation faced by young Australians with severe disabilities.
O’Reilly, 25, was presented with the title at the FYA’s Unleashed Awards which recognised 13 to 28-year-olds who are shaping positive social change in innovative ways. The event was held at Sydney Opera House over two days and attracted 400 young campaigners, volunteers and social entrepreneurs from across the country.
O’Reilly is the Founder of Fighting Chance, a youth-led Not for Profit organisation that provides innovative employment opportunities and fulfilling life experiences for people who face poverty, unemployment and social isolation due to a disability.
“We are entering a time like never before,” O’Reilly said. “A time where people with disabilities and their families have full choice and control over the resources that are rightfully theirs.”
O’Reilly also took out the Game Changer Award, presented by UBS, for the most innovative example of changemaking by a 19 to 26-year-old.
Fighting Chance was set up in memory of Jordan O’Reilly’s father, whose dedication, attitude and commitment to creating a better life for Jordan’s severely disabled late younger brother inspired everyone who met them.
Other Unleashed Award winners included:
Bright Spark Award (presented by Samsung, most innovative example of changemaking by a 13 to 18-year-old)
Mariah Kennedy, 17 (VIC). Mariah has gathered poems, stories and illustrations about social issues from some of the world’s most celebrated authors, illustrators and advocates, including Jackie French, Andy Griffiths, Michael Leunig and Bruce Whatley. Mariah has compiled these into a book called Reaching Out: Messages of Hope. All author royalties are donated to UNICEF Australia.
Amplifier Award (presented by NAB, best example of a young person using volunteering to create change)
Paniora Nukunuku, 19 (NSW). Paniora has been volunteering since the age of 13 and believes in dedicating your heart and soul to a cause that is bigger than you are. He has volunteered with the Salvation Army and OzHarvest, and has been a member of the Canterbury Youth Council for many years, collaborating with them on local events and workshops.
Youth-Led Initiative of the Year
Hello Sunday Morning. Hello Sunday Morning provides an online platform that helps individuals change their relationship with alcohol and supports them to positively influence the drinking culture around them.
“We’re incredibly lucky to work every day with passionate, motivated and inspiring young Australians creating change and making a difference in their communities and the world,” CEO of FYA, Jan Owen said.
“Unleashed has triggered a social change explosion and we’re looking forward to seeing how these young people continue to create the world in which they wish to live.”