Amores receives NSW Premier’s Medal for Lifetime Outstanding Community Service
By Richard J. Ford (APCO Inc PRO) NSW-Australia March 17, 2015
Ruben has given more than 20 years of exemplary voluntary services to the community. Organised in 1995, the 100% voluntarily tenant-managed Kapit-bahayan coop is the leading affordable rental housing coop in NSW. It has five property sites scattered around Western Sydney and also helped organise co-ops among CALD communities. Kapit-bahayan is considered to be the best housing co-op because it is the only co-op in NSW that was able to use its sweat equity or savings from operations to buy land and build the Canley Vale property under NRAS Commonwealth program. It is also the only recipient of the Global Bayaning Filipino Award of ABS-CBN in the Southern Hemisphere/Oceania.
Although only organised in 2010, APCO Inc. is currently the most active umbrella organisation among Filipinos doing many community development and charity works here and in the Philippines. ASCON is composed of small and emerging communities in Auburn LGA that has initiated many inclusive and productive projects and activities such as the community hub facilities for organisational use, the popular annual Flavours of Auburn multicultural food festival, Food Tours and healthy Traditional Food Cookbook.
Under Ruben’s stewardship, KCL was awarded: ZEST Outstanding Voluntary Community Organisation (High Commendation), Excellence in Housing for Building Communities and Tenant Engagement by the NSW Federation of Housing Associations Inc; Innovation and Building Partnerships by Common Equity NSW; Community Pride and Waste Reduction by Auburn City Council; Overall Excellence in Cooperative Housing by the NSW Federation of Housing Associations Inc; Excellence in Building Communities, by the NSW Federation of Housing Associations Inc; Excellence in Innovation in Service Delivery by the NSW Federation of Housing Associations Inc and Excellence in Asset Management by the Association to Resource Cooperative Housing (ARCH).
APCO Inc. was a finalist of the ZEST award for its Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Response in 2013 under Regional Collaboration category while Flagcom, an affiliate was finalist for its Mardi Gras Queen Pageant under Community Harmony and Inclusion. APCO Inc. also received funding grants for community developments: “Fill in the Gap” training project for refugees and recently-arrived migrants who are not qualified to be serviced by Job Services Australia funded by DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic Club and Building Multicultural Communities Grant, Stream 1 funded by Australian Federal Government. Ruben also received a ZEST award for Outstanding Voluntary Community Leadership (Highly Commended).
ASCON won the following awards: Jim Samios Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism in NSW by Ethnic Communities Council of NSW Inc; ZEST High Commendation award for Flavours of Auburn (Project in a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Group/Organisation) by Greater Western Sydney Community Services Sector.
During Ruben’s presidency of PCC-NSW, the induction ceremony was held at the Blacktown City Council Hall, the Board had an audience with PM Rudd, organised a community organisation management training for officers, co-organised a job-search training for newly-arrived Filipino migrants, had Sen. Ramon Magsaysay as Independence Ball speaker, co-hosted an international conference of Filipino organisations abroad, organised Philippine Christmas Bazaar in Parramatta and prepared the nomination that won PCC the Philippine Presidential award. A few years earlier, Kapit-bahayan was awarded as the Most Outstanding Community Organisation and Ruben was awarded as Most Outstanding Community Leader by FILCCA.
It remains to be seen what more will this fine outstamding community leader do in the future for the Filipino community?
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