The 2017 ZEST Awards saw health sector worker Yvonne Santalucia inducted into the Hall of Fame, with fellow recipient Marnel LaGarde. The most prestigious honour of the ZEST Awards, a Hall of Fame induction celebrates the exceptional, sustained achievements and accomplishments of individuals working in the community sector of Greater Western Sydney.
For over 30 years, Yvonne has worked in the Health sector in Western Sydney and has been involved in multiple projects, primarily in multicultural services. Her work in the community includes paid employment as well as multiple roles in a volunteer capacity. In her current role, Yvonne is a multicultural aged care worker in South Western Sydney’s Local Health District. In this senior position, she has managed numerous related programs, run by non-government organisations. Yvonne recently spent a year working with refugee health, in which her passion for multicultural services was reaffirmed.
Yvonne’s commitment to the community is evident through her volunteer work over many years. Involved in many organisations and committees, Yvonne gives time and attention in each capacity, to achieve positive outcomes. In 2012, she became the chairperson of CORE Community Services and has worked tirelessly for this organisation, supporting a restructure process and recent re-branding. Yvonne has also been a key stakeholder with NSW SLASA for many years; she is currently the chairperson of their Board and has overseen the organisation throughout years of development and growth.
“The thing with me is that when I can see that there is a gap or something that needs to be done, I get up and say, ‘let’s do this’,” Yvonne explains.
Yvonne’s passion for the community and her commitment to continuous improvement is clear through her constant acquisition of new, applicable skills. She is driven to make a difference and to help people in needs, wherever possible. As the driving force behind the Parque Habitacional – the only Spanish-specific aged care facility in Australia – Yvonne was determined to see the project completed and for each resident to be content in their new accommodation. She collaborated with the many people involved in the process, to achieve this outcome.
Despite having accomplished many of her goals, Yvonne still believes she is not finished just yet.
“I don’t want to give it up but I want to do things differently… I can’t wait for more young people to take on some of these responsibilities and to get involved and onto Boards,” she said.
Yvonne’s humility was evident at the ZEST Awards; her nomination was unexpected. Throughout the evening, many people asked whether she had prepared a speech: even this did not prepare her for receiving the respected award.
“I don’t see why the fuss is around me, it should be around the group and the team! People have noticed me – wow! It is unfamiliar, because it is usually me who is nominating people to these things,” said Yvonne.
Yvonne’s induction into the ZEST Awards Hall of Fame is recognition of her exceptional commitment and sustained efforts in growing and developing the community and in working for the benefit of others. On behalf of WSCF and the ZEST Awards, we congratulate and thank Yvonne for her significant contribution to the community sector across Western Sydney.
For more on the WSCF Zest Awards, click through below.