A great happiness story from New Zealand

A great happiness story from New Zealand

Queenstown champion brings ray of ê¢__‘–Happiness” to community

23 August 2007

Local volunteer, Julie Yeo, was today named Queenstown’s first Ultimate Community Champion for her invaluable contribution to community organisations.

Julie works as a volunteer to prevent family violence in the community for the Wakatipu Abuse Prevention Network as well as being employed at Happiness House, a drop-in centre that provides clothes, household items and social services to people in the community.

She also teaches the Teen Abuse Prevention Programme (TAP) to Wakatipu High students, providing information on substance abuse, peer pressure, party pills, family violence and sexual abuse.

The Ultimate Community Champion is an annual campaign launched by Queenstown tandem skydiving company NZONE. Thirty nominations were received for the inaugural scheme, which rewarded Julie with $500 to donate to her choice of charity and an Exosfear 15,000ft tandem skydive with personal cameraman to capture her experience.

Julie was nominated by Sarah Deering, a fellow colleague from the Wakatipu Abuse Prevention Network. Sarah says she nominated Julie because she’s an incredible asset to Queenstown’s community.

‘she works tirelessly, often without recognition, and is always happy to volunteer what little time she has as a mother to four children. Julie is one of those people who just keep on giving and I think it would be really nice if something was given back to her.”

Julie says that she was completely overwhelmed to receive the award and is thrilled with the acknowledgement of her work.

“I”m very honoured as I know that there are lots of people who volunteer their time and effort to various organisations. I”m passionate about the causes I work for, and, particularly in light of recent abuse cases, I think it’s really important to raise awareness of the organisations who try to make a difference.

“I”m lucky that by working for both Abuse Prevention and Happiness House, when people come in who need help I can point them in the right direction for support,” says Julie.

Robynne Williams, general manager for NZONE, says that she was rapt that so many people had come forward to nominate Queenstown’s unsung heroes.

“It was difficult to choose a winner as everyone contributed so much to the community in different ways. Julie is selfless in contributing her time to help others, and for that reason she really stood out.”