QUEANBEYAN man Ben Duggan has recently been awarded the 2012 South Coast/Southern Inland Volunteer of the Year Award and Youth Volunteer of the Year Award, recognising the work he's put into a new not-for-profit, Raising Hope, which will mentor and develop young students in the region.
It's the first time in the history of the awards that one person has won both accolades, and Mr Duggan said he was proud of the recognition.
"It's great. It's unexpected, but it's really good because it's specifically recognition for what I'm really passionate about, which is Raising Hope. And it's also a good opportunity to get some publicity around Raising Hope, which is always helpful," he said.
Only 22 years of age, Mr Duggan is an active volunteer for the Queanbeyan Lions' Club and White Ribbon Day and is a volunteer Director of the Bendigo Community Bank.
He's also an ANU student, a former Mike Kelly staffer and ran for Queanbeyan City Council on Brian Brown's Labor ticket at the September election.
But it's Raising Hope that impressed the judges: an initiative aimed at giving young people the confidence and tools they need to succeed in life.
Mr Duggan started the not-for-profit earlier this year, and will hold an official launch with board members Dr Mike Kelly and Canberra Raider Terry Campese in the coming weeks.
Raising Hope's first mentoring program is also ready to be rolled out, with a trail to begin at local schools in the next fortnight.Mr Duggan was nominated for NSW Government award program by his younger brother Luke, who said he was proud of his brother's community spirit and selfless volunteering.
"I am very proud of Ben because he has a vision to help young people in our community have confidence and believe in themselves," Luke Duggan said.
"He is very confident himself but knows that not everyone is so he spends most of his time helping other people through various causes.
"Even when he is doing other things he works in helping young people in some way. I know that he has put off doing uni full time to be able to start Raising Hope Education Foundation and I think it is a really worthwhile thing for our region," he said.n
*To find out more about Raising Hope, visit www.raisinghope.org.au.