Our good kid
By LUIS FELIU
INSPIRATIONAL ? that's the only way to describe 13-year-old Jillian Thomsen, a student of Hillcrest Christian College, who has won a statewide award recognising her huge effort in launching an appeal to help children affected by the Boxing Day tsunami.
Jillian was honoured by her school last week during a special assembly where she was named winner of the inaugural The Good Guys Good Kid State Award; she was judged the best from more than 70 award winners statewide.
School principal Keith Francis described Jillian as "just sensational ? she showed her own initiative and for a kid her age that's just amazing".
Area councillor Greg Betts told the school that he was overwhelmed when he heard of Jillian's achievement and that "she did this not just to win an award but to help others, it came from her heart to help all those people".
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The Good Guys Bundall proprietor Chris Jones said the year 9 student was "living proof of how a 13-yearold student at Reedy Creek can have such a positive impact on a country so far away".
As well as a framed award, Jillian was presented with a $1100 home-entertainment system courtesy of The Good Guys and Panasonic.
Panasonic's Australian managing director Tosh Kisaka told the assembly that in 1995 he experienced the earthquake that devastated Kobe in Japan and could "appreciate and fully understand the work she's done in helping people affected by the tsunami".
Jillian's proud mum Rebecca said her daughter was "always that type of girl, getting involved with community-minded activities such as Clean Up Australia Day".
"She not only had the idea to do it but saw it through ? she gave up her school holidays and going out with friends to the pictures or the beach to package things, organise storage, send emails and arrange collections," Mrs Thomsen said.
"When the tsunami happened she told me she wanted to do something to help and I told her to think of something genuine to help out rather than ask parents to dig deeper into their pockets, so she thought it through."
Jillian, recognising the special schooling needs that children affected by the disaster faced, developed a campaign that involved collecting and packaging stationery and other school supplies to send to the affected areas.
She created a website, motivated people to donate school supplies, sent emails, made hundreds of phone calls, contacted businesses and negotiated with International Rotary.
She also enlisted the help of the media and visited shopping centre management to raise awareness of her cause and by the end of last February, she had collected enough materials to fill a shipping container which was shipped to affected areas and distributed to needy children.
Jillian said over 300 teachers were supplied with resource materials such as books and crayons and over 11,000 children received ba- sic schooling needs such as pens, pencils and erasers.
Jillian only found out she had won the award on the morning of the assembly, when informed by her principal.
"I never expected it...I'm just so stoked," she said.
Mr Jones said The Good Guys Good Kid Award was specially developed to award and recognise children aged five to 17 who had voluntarily completed charitable work or a selfless act which had made a positive impact on an individual or community.
"Jillian is a good example of this and is a true inspiration to all of us," Mr Jones said.
The national Good Guys Good Kid award winner will be announced in December.