Citizen of the Year awards
Congratulations to Citizen of the Year Valerie Broad OAM and Young Citizen of the Year Breanna (Bree) Thomas, the top citizens for 2016.
About Valerie Broad OAM
Valerie Broad has been named the City of Greater Bendigo Citizen of the Year for her contribution to music education and volunteering.
She is the founding director of the Bendigo Youth Choir and has been the choir’s musical director for more than 30 years. She has been responsible for engaging local children in arts and culture, but also helped them to become more confident and resilient. Some of Valerie’s choralists have gone on to study music and become sought after performers.
The Bendigo Youth Choir has also welcomed children from disadvantaged and refugee backgrounds and Valerie has been integral to helping them settle into the choir and helping them to make friends and flourish.
When the choir regularly travels interstate and overseas, Valerie proudly represents Bendigo and willingly promotes the city to all she meets. Her love of music also stretches to the theatre and she was the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Kangfluca Music, which composes and produces original theatre works.
Valerie is also an active Rotarian and member of the Rotary Club of Bendigo. Her previous volunteer efforts have focused on forming the Bendigo and District Physically Disabled Support Group, establishing Sternberg Lodge to provide respite for those caring with people with a disability and establishing two permanent residences for people with physical disabilities.
Valerie received the Order of Australia Medal for her work with people with physical disabilities.
About Breanna (Bree) Thomas
Bree has been named the City of Greater Bendigo Young Citizen of the Year for her contribution to volunteering.
She has a ‘can-do’ attitude and is always willing to roll up her sleeves and help those less fortunate. Bree generously donates her time, energy and enthusiasm to create a better life for disadvantaged children and their families, and worthwhile causes such as cancer research.
Bree volunteers for the Southern Cross Kids Camp in Bendigo, Shepparton and Emerald in Queensland as a leader and buddy for abused and neglected children. She has also coordinated many fundraisers, such as trivia nights, to enable children to have funded places on these camps.
Her other passion is Camp Quality, and Bree has volunteered with Bendigo and Melbourne-based camps that allow terminally ill children to escape the challenges of their illness for a short time. Bree has also coordinated a Relay for Life team in Bendigo for many years.
When Bree’s grandmother died she held a concert and other fundraisers to collect $5,000 to sponsor a scholarship for cancer research in her honour.