EMILY Hardbottle has a special love for her sister Lauren, one that has seen her dedicate her life to helping others.
The 16-year-old Attadale resident and Santa Maria College student said she was so inspired by her sister’s spirit to keep playing and enjoying sport, despite having Spina Bifida, that she felt determined to help her and others to do what they loved.
She was just 14 when she founded the Melville Wheelchair Basketball Program after deciding there needed to be more local opportunities for people with physical disabilities, especially teenagers, to play sport.
Since then, she has continued her passion to help others, becoming a member of the Youth Advisory Council, a leader in WA’s Young Carers Advisory Group, a volunteer with Young Carers WA and the WA representative for the Australian National Youth Carer Action Team (ANYCAT).
All this has seen Emily become one of three Melville residents to be named finalists in the 2015 WA Youth Awards.
Emily said she loved giving young people a voice on issues that concern them.
“I really enjoy volunteer work and I do it for the love of it,” she said.
“I started my new role as the ANYCAT member in 2014 and I went to Canberra this year to represent WA and speak to politicians who are in a position to influence policy and change.
“I hope more people find out about Wheelchair Sports WA and Carers WA because they’re both such amazing charities that make an amazing difference everyday in our community.
“My goal for my Carers WA role is for more young carers to access support and get help if needed, and I would love more people to play wheelchair basketball so we can start up a junior league.
The WA Youth Awards will be held on November 27.
Melville’s Other Finalists
Zal Kanga Parabia (Winthrop): Zal volunteers supporting local artists and non-profit organisations. He founded and produced the Youth Music Program at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, as well as mentoring young people who have experienced homelessness through the Home is Where My Heart Is program.
Cassie Endris (Alfred Cove): Cassie advocates and volunteers for mental health organisations after living with Borderline Personality Disorder and Anorexia Nervosa. She has volunteered as a ReachOut.com youth ambassador, was a member of the Fremantle headspace Youth Reference Group and the Lived Experience Advisory Group and helped coordinate the Youth4Youth Forum where young people have the chance to talk about issues that affect them.