Earlier this year, three BOQ employees from the Brisbane and Sydney head-offices were awarded the CEO Community Award for their personal community involvement and to recognise the work they do in their local communities to support causes close to their hearts.
The lucky winners were Shonna De La Cruz, the Social Media Community Manager in the Brand and Marketing team, and Brendon Temple, the Product Manager for Deposits in the Product team, for their work supporting the Beacon Foundation, a not-for-profit that aims to support young people to successfully transition from education to meaningful employment.
And the final winner was Li Bolton, the Chief Financial Officer for BOQ Specialist, for her hard-work and commitment to the Hornsby Kuringai Women's Shelter.
As winners of this award, the three travelled to Cairns for the Clontarf Foundation Cairns Experience – a unique experience where the three immersed themselves in the Clontarf Program and developed a deeper understanding of how supporting the Clontarf Foundation truly impacts the lives of the young men. The four-day experience included time at the Clontarf Academy and a visit to the coastal community of Yarrabah for an overnight camping trip.
The Clontarf Foundation is a not-for-profit that exists to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal men and by doing so equips them to participate meaningfully in society. The Foundation uses the existing passion that Aboriginal boys have for football to attract them into school and keep them there.
We asked Shonna and Brendon to tell us about the experience in their own words, here is what they had to say:
It’s quite hard to put the experience into words. The trip with the Clontarf Foundation, the boys and partners was one of the most inspirational experiences I’ve ever had. I cannot begin to explain the passion, dedication and pure love that is poured into the Clontarf program and what they do for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys. The respect and honour the boys had for their people and their country is something I will never forget. One of the fondest memories was sitting around the camp fire and the boys were asked to tell us “if you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be”, one of the boys said “Yarrabah”- the town they were all from. The boys began to laugh, as they all lived in Yarrabah. He loved his country that much, that’s where he wanted to be – I’ll never forget the proud look on his face. This trip set me on fire, I loved every minute.
The trip was centred on immersing ourselves within the Clontarf Foundation program to really gain a true insight and appreciation of the work they do each day. From this, we had the fortunate opportunity to spend a lot of time with the boys from many different schools. Spending time and speaking with the boys was the highlight of each day. Witnessing the happiness and joy they experienced from interacting with each other and the staff made me realise the true impact of the Clontarf Foundation. By creating a safe and fun environment, the boys are given the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential. The Clontarf staff members are the back bone of this Foundation and do an amazing job caring for and supporting the boys each day. The skills and lessons they impart on the boys is fundamental to their growth and development. This trip reminded me of the true power of generosity and support and how this can have a significant impact on a person’s life. The Clontarf boys and staff members demonstrated these qualities in all their interactions with each other and emulated the behaviours we should all strive to adopt.
Congratulations again to Shonna, Brendon and Li for winning this fantastic award and for all the work you do in your local communities.