The Unsung Hero Award initiated by the Rotary Club of Mill Point recognises the efforts of those dedicated individuals who have contributed to the quality of life in the community without reward or recognition.
This year Josh Serafini was recognised for his outstanding leadership and service to the Karawara community providing services, cooking, and distributing meals to individuals in crisis.
Shelter WA profiled the work of Josh earlier this year.
From the George Burnett Centre he produces over 150 meals each week which are distributed to Aboriginal Community groups throughout the City of South Perth by Waterford Plaza and the Rotary Club of Mill Point. Josh’s work stems from his Community Dinners project which was repurposed to alleviate the serious impact the COVID-19 virus was having on vulnerable people within the community who are socially isolated and have limited access to income and food.
At a formal presentation held at the Royal Perth Golf Club several representatives spoke about Josh’s achievements.
Rotary Club of Mill Point Unsung Hero Award organiser Rick Sneeuwjagt praised both Josh and Steph Hodgson the other recipient of the Unsung Hero Award for her voluntary work at Southcare.
“These two people are just the epitome of the volunteers we rely on,” said Mr Sneeuwjagt. “It has been an absolute pleasure to be able to recognise, celebrate and say thank you to those fantastic people. It is wonderful that Josh has his family and relatives here, and he is a very impressive person.”
Gary Gower is the Aboriginal Family Support Coordinator at Southcare and he also runs the Moorditj Keila Men’s Group. Gary recalls the time he first met Josh and the impact he had. “When Josh first came to me, he was transitioning from homelessness to living in suburbia, so he needed support,” recalls Gary. “What I discovered was that as I was helping Josh, he was feeding back to me and he was a blessing.”
In accepting the award Josh said he was “overwhelmed”.
“It’s been a magnificent journey to get here starting off with the Community Dinner and when the crisis kicked in it started to be a weekly event. It has been a really interesting couple of years, and I am just really proud to be here today to be a part of it, to be able to give back to the community.”
Josh’s association with Shelter WA comes from his involvement in the Hear of my Experience (HOME) project as a Lived Experience Advocate. The project empowers people with a lived experience of homelessness or housing precariousness to have a greater voice in the sector through the establishment of a co-designed speaker’s bureau.
Shelter WA Acting CEO Lisa Kazalac represented the organisation at the awards ceremony. In paying tribute, Lisa highlighted how much of a privilege it is for Shelter WA to work with Lived Experience Advocates like Josh, who are making direct and meaningful change in our community to end homelessness. Keep an eye out for our HOME Toolkit which will be released next quarter co-designed by the HOME Lived Experience Advocates.
In addition to receiving a trophy Josh received $500 to be paid to a community charity of his choice.