Jason Sotiris and Katrina Ikonomou named 2022 Westfield Local Heroes

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Two Greek Australians have been awarded $20,000 grants after being named as 2022 Westfield Local Heroes.

Both recipients are based in NSW with Supertee founder, Jason Sotiris, recognised as Westfield Parramatta’s Local Hero and social worker, Katrina Ikonomou, recognised as Westfield Sydney’s Local Hero.

In congratulating the Local Heroes, Scentre Group National Community Experience Manager, Pam Wilson, described the recipients as “inspirational,” noting the awards “continue to recognise and reward everyday people doing extraordinary work in our communities.”

Jason Sotiris – SuperTee (Westfield Parramatta, NSW)

2022 Westfield Parramatta Local Hero, Jason Sotiris.

Devoted dad, Jason Sotiris, is bringing a little joy to children in hospital with his free superhero garments. So far, his Supertee charity has given away 8000 garments, which make life easier for hospital staff and bedside parents with their cape that transforms into a bib and openings for tubes.

Jason came up with the idea when his baby daughter Angela was seriously ill and the doctors told him she had a 20 per cent chance of surviving what was a rare, 1 in 100,000 disease: multi-system Langerhans cell histiocytosis.

Jason’s dream is for a Supertee to be available for any child given bad news in any hospital in Australia and with the newly awarded $20,000 grant, a further 445 Supertee Marvel edition garments will be delivered to the Sydney Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Katrina Ikonomou – Gunawirra (Westfield Sydney, NSW)

2022 Westfield Sydney Local Hero, Katrina Ikonomou.

Social worker, Katrina Ikonomou, is a proud Dharug woman who goes above and beyond to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children in the Inner West.

Katrina is the Dharug Clinical Manager at Gunawirra, a community-led organisation where cultural advisers and therapists work together to provide culturally appropriate healing services.

She plays a crucial role at Gunawirra, managing their programs that support young Aboriginal mothers and 26 preschool communities with speech therapy, art therapy, occupational therapy and social work services.

Katrina is highly respected for going above and beyond, and she is being recognised for her work during the COVID-19 lockdowns, where she tirelessly sourced computers, food and art supplies for families.

“I am passionate about my people, and I want women to feel supported so they can be the best mothers to their children,” Katrina says.

With the $20,000 grant, Gunawirra will be able to fund much-needed additional clinician time and invest in further training.

Westfield Local Hero Finalists

A further two Greek Australians from NSW were recognised in the awards as finalists and have received $5000 grants for their organisations.

Finalist for Westfield Miranda, Karen Tsoumbaras, works as an employment education and training manager at Project Youth and is a beacon of hope for hundreds of young people facing long-term unemployment. In her role, she guides people aged 12 to 24 to help them access education that improves their employment prospects. 

The $5000 grant will be put towards the operational costs of Project Youth’s training and education programs, as well as the purchase of computers, work clothes and tools to be used by students.

Also receiving a $5000 grant was Westfield Bondi Junction’s finalist and Teach Us Consent founder, Chanel Contos.

Contos has changed the sexual consent narrative in the Eastern Suburbs and across Australia, helping sexual assault survivors find their voice and instigating education reform.

Following Chanel’s Teach Us Consent petition, consent education will be mandatory in Australian schools, starting early and continuing until Year 10. 

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