Kildonan UnitingCare volunteer Luis Rodriguez has been recognised for his dedication to newly arrived families in Shepparton with a Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence.
Luis received the award for Meritorious Service to the Community at a ceremony on Thursday evening. It acknowledges his “outstanding achievements in promoting cultural diversity and inclusion”.
He has spent many years coaching and mentoring newly-arrived young people in soccer and transporting them to competitions and tournaments. Many of his players are now involved in high level competitions throughout Australia.
Luis previously co-ordinated the Shepparton Street Soccer Program and Social Soccer Program with his wife – and Kildonan staff member – Elisabeth Dunne. The programs promoted social inclusion for newly-arrived young people.
He also has a long history of offering newly-arrived families jobs and accommodation at his orchard at Undera. Many of the men who were first employed by Luis are now successful business owners in the Shepparton region.
Kildonan CEO Stella Avramopoulos said Luis has made a significant impact on families in the Shepparton region.
“Arriving in a new country and attempting to start a new life can be a daunting experience for many families,” Ms Avramopoulos said.
“Luis has gone above and beyond to make that transition smooth for so many new arrivals and to make them feel like an important part of their new community.
“Luis is a deserving winner of this award and a shining example of Kildonan’s values: respect, integrity, compassion, justice and trust.”