Sponsored by WPC Group, this new annual award is in memorial of Samantha Sophia Ramsey, the late daughter of Skilling Australia Foundation Director Sophie Ramsey.
The national award celebrates the achievements of a young person with a disability, aiming to honor and recognize their outstanding achievements in training, education or employment. The award recipient will receive a one-off $2000.00 grant to contribute to TAFE or RTO fees to advance their education and employment opportunities.
Samantha Sophia Ramsey was born in 1995, precious daughter to Skilling Australia Foundation Director Cnr. Sophie Ramsey.
From the very beginning, likely due to oxygen deprivation at birth, Samantha faced many challenges. She was born with a severe intellectual disability, a hole in her heart, ongoing seizures, digestive issues and was completely non-verbal. This didn’t stop her from lighting up any room she entered.
“Samantha would bring the house down with her cheeky laughter and always had a sparkle in her eye” recalls Sophie. Samantha started walking at around age 4-and-a-half and continued to do so for around 10 years before it became too difficult physically. In the last five years of her life, Samantha did not walk at all. Again, this didn’t dampen her spirit. Sophie describes Samantha as having been “the purest of souls”.
Samantha was a well natured girl and absolutely adored by all who knew her. “She had these big sparkly blue eyes, and everyone wrapped around her finger” said Sophie.
Samantha showed resilience and developed ways of communicating non-verbally with those around her. Samantha lived at home with her Mum, two older sisters, Nan (deceased) and great grandmother (deceased) until she passed away in August 2015.
It is with great pleasure and honor that we announce the 2017 award winner of the Samantha Sophia Ramsey Memorial Award, Mark Alvares from Dandenong.
Mark was nominated to us by a youth program worker at City of Greater Dandenong Youth Services, and was a standout candidate.
Diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Cerebral Palsy after arriving in Australia in 2006, Mark has gone above and beyond. He participated in many programs, as well as volunteering around his community, and pushing himself forward to furthering his skills in employment and other fields.
He has shown exceptional motivation to strive and achieve his goals and has shown that he is committed to an expansive future armed with a plethora of skills and showing no limits to his personal growths.
The Skilling Australia Foundation is proud to award Mark with $2,000.00, which will go towards advancing his education and employment opportunities.
We thank all our applicants for their time. We received many strong candidates, but regrettably, we can only award one.
The Samantha Sophia Ramsey Memorial award will continue annually with one recipient each year. Stay tuned for the 2018 application round.