Congratulations to the winners of the Deaf Australian of the Year 2013 Awards!
As always, it is great to get nomination forms detailing the wonderful things Deaf people and organisations are doing in our community. A big thankyou to runners up Leonie Jackson and Deaf Children Australia: the work you do is of great benefit to the Deaf community. The awards were announced at the Deaf Australia AGM on Saturday 16 November 2013.
Deaf Australian of the Year – David Peters
David has been an active and influential member of the Deaf community for many years, particularly with Deaf Sports Australia, and is currently the president. He has represented Australia Deaflympics as an official.
Currently the Major Events and Training Coordinator at Vicdeaf, David works to bring Deaf and hearing communities together and to promote better understanding of the Deaf community.
David also provides Deaf Awareness Training to service providers who employ Deaf people; this promotes better understanding and creates opportunities for Deaf people in the workforce to be active and equal members of the team.
Ann Darwin, recently retired Deaf Australia President, presented David with his award at a surprise event at the JML Centre on 29 November 2013.
“Congratulations to David from all of us at Vicdeaf,” said Michael Parremore, Team Leader – Community Programs, “Everyone at Vicdeaf is very proud of David upon receiving the Deaf Australian of the Year award. He is a deserving recipient.”
Photo credit – Vicdeaf
Deaf Australian Youth of the Year – Drisana Levitzke-Gray
Drisana (also pictured top, with WFD President, Colin Allen) is an active participant in local Deaf community activities, the youngest committee member of WAAD and a member of the WAAD subcommittee organising events for NWDP.
She completed an internship with the WFD Deaf Youth section and has attended Frontrunners (an international Deaf youth leadership course), and worked with Deaf communities in Europe and developing countries including Samoa, increasing the leadership capacity and human rights understanding of Deaf youth.
As a public speaker, Drisana has made presentations to parents of deaf children about her experiences growing up with Deaf parents, as well as giving a presentation at the WFD Conference in Sydney recently, and has also presented workshops in Samoa and NZ about the benefits of signed languages for Deaf people, and the concept of ‘deaf gain’ and not ‘hearing loss’ – outlining a new way to think about the concept of inclusion and deafness as a ‘difference’ not a ‘deficit’.
As a role model for Deaf youth in Perth, Drisana assists them to gain an understanding of their Deaf identity, encourages them to strive for greatness, and informs them about the opportunities available to them.
Drisana’s website has Auslan videos (with English subtitles) that she has made about about Deaf communities around the world.
She projects a very positive image of deafness that says loudly “it’s ok to be Deaf”.
Fair Go – Auslan Services
Auslan Services was nominated for giving Deaf people a fair go in access and equity. As a leading provider of Auslan interpreting services all over Australia, they give excellent and very reliable services 24/7.
They have been operating since 2001 and slowly built up the amount of work and number of clients by being committed to showing the Deaf community that they are authentic and true spirited and focus on quality.
Auslan Services coordinates interpreters throughout Australia using unique and tailored practices that are respectful, honest, professional and innovative. They use a pool of NAATI accredited interpreters with a vast knowledge and experience for a variety of needs, who have a very professional approach and strictly abide by a code of ethics that protects all clients at all times.
The organisation gives back to the Deaf community in a number of ways:
- Auslan Services Foundation – Individuals and groups from the Deaf and interpreter communities receive donations to support them to achieve amazing things.
- Study bonus – a financial incentive scheme that recognises the commitment made by Auslan interpreters to their future knowledge and practical skills by studying tailored courses in Auslan and English interpreting.
- Deaf business directory – lists businesses owned and operated by deaf Australians.