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Celebrating our community efforts

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Celebrating our community efforts

Awards showcase the work of individuals, organisations and businesses.

A former elite athlete and natural bodybuilder-turned-mental health advocate has been named Citizen of the Year in the Sunshine Coast Biosphere Community Awards.

Leon Stensholm received the honour for his dedication to helping, mentoring and supporting young people in the region through his youth centre: Lookout 07. His vision to create the centre emerged from his own deeply personal journey – the tragic loss of his brother and four clients to suicide.

Leon recognised disconnection and isolation from friends and family as the common denominator in their stories and knew something had to change.

He embarked on a mission to create a safe, welcoming, all-inclusive space for young children, where meaningful connections support their path to physical, mental and social wellbeing.

His dream came to fruition in 2023 when he opened Lookout 07, which provides recreation facilities alongside resilience programs, mentoring and crisis counselling for about 150 youths each week.

The judges applauded Leon for using his professional experiences to help so many young people, and for his generosity of space, time and skill.

They summed it up in four words: “We need more Leons!”.

The awards, held last week, recognised, celebrated and showcased the stories of 79 dedicated individuals, organisations and businesses contributing to a sustainable region now and into the future.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Rosanna Natoli says the collective impact all the nominees have on the region is humbling.

“These stories represent what is special about our Sunshine Coast Biosphere and why this is such a wonderful place to live, work, learn and play,” she says.

2024 Sunshine Coast Biosphere Community Awards’ Recipients

Citizen of the Year, Leon Stensholm

Senior Citizen of the Year, Ken Mewburn

Young Citizen of the Year, Kurt Jones

Community Group or Organisation, endED

Healthy People, Trevor Picken

Biosphere Business of the Year, Go For Zero

Creative Arts (jointly awarded), Helena Gulash and Paul Calcott

Healthy Planet (jointly awarded), Craig Hosmer and Daryl Reinke, Hinterland Bush Links.

 

LOCAL LIONS ACT GLOBALLY

Most people think of their neighbourhood Lions club as a small group that looks after the local community.

But did you know Lions serve beyond their immediate neighbourhood by helping those in need with their volunteering efforts.

In fact, Lions International is the world’s largest service club organisation, with more than 1.4 million members across about 45,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.

Lions Club Mooloolaba president Peter Whalan says each club donates to its own international foundation, which provides recovery funding to large-scale humanitarian and environmental crises.

“The foundation was formed in 1968 to improve the efficiency of managing global needs, which has massively improved how we address those issues,” Mr Whalan says.

Last weekend, the international chair of the foundation attended a special dinner on the Sunshine Coast to shine a spotlight on how local clubs are helping to aid stricken overseas communities.

“There were over 90 members from 17 Lions clubs in attendance,” Mr Whalan says.

To discover more about joining your nearby Lions Club, go to lionsclub.org.au.

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