In 2020, LG Electronics Australia named Georgia Cherrie a local hero of Hawkesbury, NSW for her work and efforts volunteering at RuffTRACK, a local charity seeking to guide young people and set them on the right direction.
A few months into her social work degree, Georgia recognised the dire need for programs that adequately support young Australians. Determined to make a change and contribute in a meaningful way, Georgia decided to spend 2020 into 2021 volunteering with RuffTRACK.
RuffTRACK is a fully registered charity offering youth programs for young people ages 13 - 17 years old who have disengaged with school and the community. The charity seeks to give each participant a sense of self worth to reach their full potential. This is achieved by skills attained through programs based around relationships, animal care and training, public speaking, agricultural education, self-generated income projects and community outreach services. Georgia spent her time at RuffTRACK as a support advisor, giving direction and guidance to keep all participants on track to reaching their potential.
We spoke to Georgia to learn more about her efforts – how she got started, her greatest challenges and what is in store for her next:
What prompted you to give back to your community?
GC: It all started with my university degree. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Social Work and was inspired by all the conversations we had during each of our classes. I knew I wanted to help make a change, and was lucky enough to start at RuffTRACK during my first university placement.
RuffTRACK is a program that works directly with young people to ensure they gain a sense of self worth and purpose. This is something that I’m so passionate about, and wanted to be a part of.
Have you come up against any challenges?
GC: While I personally didn’t come up against any challenges working at RuffTRACK, the biggest obstacle we faced as a charity was funding. As we rely heavily on donations from the general public and businesses as well as small grants, regular funding was always an issue. It was definitely hard to keep going with the amount of donations we were receiving.
To help resolve this issue, we ran multiple initiatives to prompt more donations from businesses and the general public through social media. We also ran a virtual run – ‘Run for RuffTRACK’. Part of the event included a small entry fee and people were also able to sponsor the runners. All donations went towards accelerating the RuffTRACK program so that we were able to help more young people.
What results have you achieved so far?
GC: While we have achieved many great things, the biggest one for me is seeing all the lives we have touched and the young people who are now set on the path to reach their full potential. The changes we saw in kids from when they first started right up till the end of the program was the best moment of each day.
We have one young person who achieved a full apprenticeship through hard work, dedication and love for his trade. We have another participant who has shown amazing progress and is now on a full traineeship with RuffTRACK as well as a number of young people who are on the road to a traineeship. Seeing and hearing about all the strides that young people are taking after the program makes all the effort worth it.
And personally, I grew a lot as a person. I gained a better understanding of the different struggles and experiences people go through, but I also saw how resilient people can be and how anyone can rise above their hardships and challenges.
Do you have any thoughts on how your LG prize might help you or your initiative in the future?
GC: The prize pack from LG will go into the kitchen for our program participants to use. Having their own kitchen will provide the facilities for them to make their own lunch. While this may seem like a simple activity, the benefits are tremendous in teaching responsibility and independence.
What’s next for you?
GC: My personal goal is to continue to work with youth and work in a program like RuffTRACK, if not RuffTRACK again itself. I want to continue to work with kids and help them reach their full potential.
We would truly like to thank Georgia for her contributions in supporting Hawkesbury’s youth. We wish RuffTRACK our best as they continue to change lives and harness the potential in young people. For more information on RuffTRACK, visit the organisation’s website here, and Facebook page here.
If you know someone like Georgia making a difference through their time, actions, talents and/or dedication to others, you can nominate them to be named an LG Local Legend by visiting: lglifesgood.com.au/nominate-a-local-legend.
We are looking forward to celebrating their achievements with you soon!