ASHLEE Harrison hosted her first zero2hero fundraiser in more than two years at Government House on Saturday, just a week after winning the West Australian of the Year Youth Award.
The 28-year-old took maternity leave from the non-profit organisation she started in 2009 after the suicide death of her stepdad. Her daughter, Charlee, is now 10 months old.
Zero2hero’s inaugural gala fundraiser raised $39,000 to support the organisation’s youth mental health and suicide prevention programs.
The evening included a surprise performance by Sydney-based spoken word artist Matthew Norman, who had attended a zero2hero leadership camp in the past.
In between putting the final touches on the event, Ms Harrison went up against friend Nick Maisey and Scott Corbett in the Youth Award category for West Australian of the Year.
“I was sitting on the same table as Nick and we were writing a potential acceptance speech together… bouncing ideas off each other,” Ms Harrison said.
But it did not prepare the zero2hero founder for when her name was called as the winner.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so anxious,” she said.
Ms Harrison said she wanted to use the opportunity to tell the room “of so many important people” why zero2hero existed. The award will enable Ms Harrison to educate young leaders in rural communities.
“The award was sponsored by BHP, which is very exciting because we want to move our programs and promote them rurally,” she said.
“We want to launch our camp programs in to Aboriginal communities for young leaders… this partnership will make that possible.”
n zero2hero Day is Friday, June 24, and promotes awareness of mental health by encouraging schools to start a conversation about it.