Ern Phang wins 2010 Sydney Mid West Volunteer of the Year

Volunteering for not-for-profit organisations

We are pleased to announce that Ern Phang, solicitor director of Phang Legal, is the 2010 Sydney Mid West Volunteer of the Year.

The Sydney Mid West Volunteer of the Year award recognises Ern’s work with and dedication to Western Housing for Youth Limited (WHY), a not for profit youth service providing semi supported accommodation to young people who are homeless or in danger of homelessness. Ern was a volunteer director of WHY for several years, holding various formal positions including company secretary and chairperson during his tenure. As the chairperson of WHY, Ern was instrumental in guiding WHY through a review process to revitalise the board and organisation through a new focus on corporate governance and structured organisational management.

“It’s an honour to have been nominated, and I’d like to thank my family, especially my wife Mei, for their support. Without their support I wouldn’t be able to take on the added responsibilities and commitments of being a director of WHY or of other not-for-profit organisations. Volunteering is not an individual effort – it involves the whole family.”

“I’d like to thank Debby Ireson the manager from WHY for her support. I’ve known Debby for several years prior to joining WHY since we we both directors of Western Suburbs Housing Cooperative Limited. Debby is one of the reasons that WHY has continued to exist for over three decades and supported generations of young people in Sydney’s west. I’ve got the greatest respect for Debby and her team, especially Maha Abas, who on her days off from working at WHY volunteered at the Iraqi Women Association.”

“It always amazed me that Maha worked in the community not-for-profit sector, and on her days off also volunteered in the community not-for-profit sector. For me, it was my part time professional hobby, but for Maha it was her life and her passion, dedication and commitment to that life was evident and inspirational. Sadly, Maha lost her battle with cancer only a few months ago while still in her early 40s leaving behind a teenage daughter. They’re right when they say ‘the good die young’.”

“So to all volunteers and your families, I thank you. This award is not just a recognition of what I have done, but what all of you have done – irrespective of whether you have been nominated or not.”

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Award is an annual awards program launched in 2007 by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding efforts of the 2.4 million volunteers in NSW, and to promote the importance of volunteering to the community and to companies. Prior to 2007 there was no state-wide recognition program for volunteers. The Centre for Volunteering is working with other state peak bodies to take these Awards nationally in the future.