IT takes a courageous person to sell the family home in order to follow a dream.
It takes a person who believes acutely that what they are doing will make a difference to dozens, even hundreds, of lives.
For mother of two Lee-Anne Smith, it was this belief and subsequent action in 2005 of funding the HALO leadership development agency through the sale of her home that has resulted in her becoming a finalist in the individual category of the WA Community Services Excellence (CSE) Awards.
But while Ms Smith said the growing list of nominations, awards, accolades and funding grants was wonderful validation of the success of the training and employment program for young indigenous men, it was hearing and seeing first-hand the difference it had made to individual families and the wider Aboriginal community that kept the “flame burning”.
“The stories of heartbreak and yet sheer determination make me the richest woman in the world,” she said.
“This is a major achievement and an honour to see my name make it into the individual category next to people such as Ann O’Neill.”
HALO has been shortlisted for two CSE awards in the categories of small organisation and outstanding commitment by an individual.
The organisation employs four Aboriginal youth workers and seven Aboriginal trainee mentors who are committed to providing opportunities for healing and economic freedom in their community.
In announcing the finalists last week, community services Minister Robyn McSweeney said the awards acknowledged the crucial role the not-for-profit sector played in supporting vulnerable people.
“The standard of the 29 finalists for this year’s awards is high and it’s a reflection of the tremendous work being undertaken by the community services sector,” Mrs McSweeney said.
Finalists and award winners will be acknowledged at a gala dinner in May.