Twelve-year-old Broken Hill local Abbie Kelly has won the New South Wales Volunteer of the Year Award as well as the Young Volunteer of the Year.

Key points:

  • Abbie volunteers for organisations including Clean-Up Australia Day, Land Care and National Tree Planting Day
  • The Burke Ward student says her mum has had a particularly profound influence on her
  • Her principal says Abbie is all about putting others first

The Centre for Volunteering recognised Abbie for her “inexhaustible volunteering in her local community and can-do attitude to make the world a better place”.

The Burke Ward student, who also won this year’s Broken Hill Young Citizen of the Year Award, volunteers for organisations such as Clean-Up Australia Day, Land Care and National Tree Planting Day.

On top of that, Abbie has written to the Prime Minister and other MPs about banning single-use plastic straws, raised $3,500 for the children’s charity Variety and has helped spearhead a local “Crazy Sock Day” next week to raise funds for cancer research charity Love Your Sister.

She said volunteering was one thing she wanted to keep doing.

“It’s not about the award,” Abbie said.

“I don’t do it for the awards, I don’t do it for the publicity — I do it because helping people is what I’m most passionate about in the world.

A young girl accepts an award in front of NSW government-branded panelling.

Abbie says seeing the impact her fundraising activities have are the real reward.(Supplied: Centre for Volunteering)

‘She inspires me’

Abbie said she would not be able to help so many people without the incredible support of the Broken Hill community and her grandparents.

But she said her mum had a particularly profound influence on her.

“People think that I’m the one that doesn’t stop, but it’s also her — she just does everything for me and purchases the merchandise and just helps print out flyers and helps get publicity and is one of the reasons I do what I do.

“She inspires me.”

A young, bespectacled girl with long hair dressed in her school uniform.

Kate Hogg said Abbie showed leadership qualities from her first day of school.(Supplied: Sophie Angell)

‘An emerging leader’

Burke Ward principal Kate Hogg said from the moment Abbie stepped into the school as a kindergarten student she was leading by example. 

“I think probably two and a half years ago she really stepped up her game and has really promoted herself within the community and is like a beacon of light we can look towards,” she said.

Ms Hogg said the whole school was proud of Abbie and that the accolades were wonderful.

She said the future of Broken Hill was in good hands.

“She’s an emerging leader in our town,” Ms Hogg said.

“She promotes our city and shows that we are wonderful human beings living out here in Broken Hill.

12yo from Broken Hill crowned NSW Volunteer of the Year and Young Volunteer of the Year
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