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Young local achiever drives positive change

AN Eastern Shore volunteer’s commitment to initiating positive change and making a difference in the lives of others has seen him nominated for the 2019 Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards.

Daniel Berry, from Oakdowns, volunteers with the Lifeline Community Visitors Scheme, regularly bringing fun, laughter and a welcome self-esteem boost to residents at Regis aged care home in Warrane.

Mr Berry, 21, began volunteering at Regis with his mother Jenny in early 2016, helping her organise a fortnightly crossword and quiz session for a group of residents.

He enjoyed it so much that he soon took over running the quiz himself, developing friendships with a group of elderly residents who missed the company of younger people and risked experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

“It was a bit of a novelty at first, but the more my (brother) Tim and I have done it the more comfortable we’ve become and the more rapport we’ve felt with residents,” Mr Berry said.

“I enjoy doing and writing quizzes in my free time, so it’s fun for that reason, and it’s nice to get to know the residents and hear some stories about what they used to do.

“It’s a good way to connect.

“It’s easy to talk to people your own age, whether you’re young or old, but it’s great to build bridges and connect across generations – I think that’s really important.”

Mr Berry has spent more than 100 hours volunteering at Regis, fitting it in around his university studies.

Now his dedication has been recognised with a nomination in the 2019 Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards in the Heather & Christopher Chong Community Service & Volunteering category, for individuals who have positively impacted the lives of others and their community.

The award is for community service workers or young volunteers who demonstrate initiative and leadership potential, working in areas including homelessness, at-risk youth, the environment, emergency services, aged care and more.

It’s one of nine categories in this year’s Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards, which celebrate, promote and encourage the positive achievements of Tasmanians aged under 30, across an array of fields.

Other awards include the University of Tasmania Faculty of Education Teaching Excellence Award; St. Lukes Health Healthier Communities Award; First National Real Estate Leadership Award; Motors Tasmania Sports Award; TADPAC Print Service to the Disability Sector Award; Colony 47 Transition to Work Award; Spirit of Tasmania Tourism and Hospitality Award; and the Dental South Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Achievement Award.

Judging will take place during March, with the winners announced at a gala dinner on 31 May.

Winners will each receive $1000 and a trophy, with the Premier’s Young Achiever of the Year to also take home an additional $2000 from the Tasmanian Government.

For more information, phone 6234 9677 or visit www.awardsaustralia.com.

Caption: 2019 Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards nominee Daniel Berry.