For many 18-year-olds, the Rotary concept of “service above self” can be a somewhat foreign one.
Not so for Tom Van Duijne, who was recently named ‘young leader of the year’ by Hoppers Crossing Rotary Club.
The Hoppers Crossing teen underwent a lengthy application process, which included a series of interviews and an assignment on a local not-for-profit organisation that he thought would benefit from a Rotary grant.
Mr Van Duijne, who is in year 12 at Hoppers Crossing Secondary College, dedicated his assignment to disadvantaged youth organisation White Lion, which will receive a $500 donation.
“It really interested me how much they involve youth,” he said.
“They do a lot around the area and across Australia.
“One thing I liked was their NOSH [Nutrition Outreach Support and Health] program, which has vans driven around to help feed and clothe homeless people in the area, especially in winter. The $500 will go towards the NOSH program.”
Mr Van Duijne says he’s thrilled to have been selected for the award as an active member of his school and local community.
He is an officer at 30 ACU Australian Army Cadets group, which he joined five years ago, and is also the sports house captain at his college.
Mr Van Duijne says he’s still in two minds about his career path and is considering joining the army or becoming a high school physical education teacher when he graduates at the end of this year.