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Our President Leonie receives Citizen of the Year Nomination

Find out why our dynamo president Leonie has been nominated for Citizen of the Year! 🏆😀

Leonie, our president with her Citizen of the Year Nomination Certificate

Why do you think the person you have nominated is worthy of being Glen Eira’s Citizen of the Year/ Young Citizen of the Year?

Since joining the Carnegie Toy Library as a parent member in 2016, Leonie has devoted herself to making this vital community service the best it can be. She has spent endless hours selflessly working behind the scenes performing the hands-on labour required to run a service with over 2,500 toys – as well as spearheading the promotion and revitalisation that has seen CTL achieve record membership numbers. She has been a marketing mastermind, while working through the unique challenges of a volunteer- organisation such as filling committee positions and ensuring enough volunteers are found to keep the toy library open. She also led the effort to rebrand the toy library, involving Monash University design students to design our new logo.

Design students Alex & Zach from Monash University with Leonie

How has the nominee demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and/or been a role model within the community?

Leonie has shown outstanding leadership skills by driving the toy library to record levels of membership numbers as well as member and community engagement. She has actively recruited other parents and community members to join the committee, ensuring a well-rounded and committed collective to help keep the toy library going. She leads by example, working behind the scenes at the toy library one night each week and finding community volunteers (not members) to join her in toy maintenance. This includes a semester-long mutually beneficial engagement with Holmesglen TAFE students who had learning disabilities, improving their social and physical skills while re-organising and cataloguing toys.

Leonie during a working bee with Holmesglen Tafe students

She has shown strong leadership by organising our events such as Open Days, Party in the Park stalls and Bunnings BBQs, to be extremely successful – with many hours of work to ensure this. She has truly brought the toy library into the 21st century by using her amazing design and digital skills to integrate social media with our website and help drive membership recruitment and retention. And she has done all this whilst having a successful career as a digital consultant and having two young children.

Leonie speaking at the 2017 toy library Open Day

How has the nominee made a positive difference to others in the Glen Eira community?

Leonie has made a positive difference to the lives of hundreds of families in Glen Eira through significant improvements to the Carnegie Toy Library, helping more children learn through play by increasing the toy library’s appeal and reach. Along with many other valuable dexterities, toys help kids develop fine motor skills and think creatively. We stock high-quality toys to enrich children’s play and skill development, as well as strengthening families through a supportive community network.

By strengthening the toy library though membership, community involvement, grants and toy additions, Leonie has transformed this community asset into one which can help more families connect with their children through play, reduce waste in the environment and promote childhood skills development.

Leonie & Sophie with their 2020 Party in the Park booth set up

For what period of time has the nominee made this contribution?

Leonie joined the toy library as a parent member in 2016, quickly stepping onto the committee and becoming President in the same year. It is difficult to approximate how much time she has given to the toy library since then, but we estimate it is at least six hours a week (with extra commitment preparing for events such as Open Days and Party in the Park) – up to 400 hours/year. In the past four years, we expect she would have given over 1,600 hours of service to the community through the toy library.

Leonie working with volunteers on Wednesday nights

Has the nominee’s contributions been recognised elsewhere?

Leonie does not seek the spotlight, however has also been recognised by Toy Libraries Australia as a stand out volunteer. Similarly, she has opted to have others on the committee speak publicly for media articles, etc.

Sophie, Leonie, Claire & Pia at the Bendigo Bank Community Grant Pitch night

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