For the first time in the Monash Leadership Award’s history, there have been two winners in the month of July.
Bentleigh’s Jorja Bell and Ormond’s Aedan Gordon shared the spoils after outstanding contributions to their respective clubs.
The Bentleigh community has wholeheartedly supported fearless Jorja, who shaved her head on July 14 during the World’s Greatest Shave. Her selfless act has raised more than $7,500, all of which has been donated directly to the Leukaemia Foundation.
The 13-year-old was inspired to raise awareness after witnessing family-friend Abbey King’s struggle with bone cancer. However, her gesture goes far beyond helping just Abbey, Jorja wanted to aid others who are suffering.
“To me raising money and shaving my head is a way of showing respect to those who unfortunately have got cancer,” she said.
“This is one of the greatest things I have ever done, and I really hope my tribute to the Greatest Shave helps lots of people and their families.”
The money was raised through various initiatives such as races, lucky dip stalls, a half-time spoon and egg race, as well as a set amount contributed from Bentleigh goals kicked on July 14.
Ormond’s Aedan Gordon also proved a worthy recipient of the Monash Leadership Award after his tireless contribution to their Under 12 Mixed team.
After suffering numerous concussions in the preseason, Aedan was forced to hang up his playing boots. The 18-year-old would have been forgiven for dwelling on the incident, yet he decided to give back – coaching the Under 12’s in addition to being part of Ormond’s Group Mentor Program.
Ormond’s mentoring program was created by A Path to Follow, which enables people like Aedan to mentor younger playing groups, all whilst receiving guidance from a more senior coach.
Aedan’s mentors Peter Glenane and Warren Bailey played an influential role in the youngster’s growth this season – allowing him to take training drills, address the team at intervals and assist with in-game coaching.
Ormond Committee Member and founder of A Path to Follow, Kirstie Edwards, believes Aedan has contributed immeasurably to the football club.
“For our club’s young players to have a super role model like Aedan, is so important in this day of competing complexities for young people. He is an awesome peer mentor to the players,” she said.
“As a Child Safety Officer, Suicide Prevention Network Lead and Mental Health Advocate, I cannot tell you how important it is for young people to have peers, like Aedan, share their experiences in football and in life.
“Aedan models responsibility, dedication, passion and maturity.”
South Metro Junior Football League and Monash University congratulate both Jorja and Aedan on their respective commitment to the Bentleigh and Ormond communities.
If you would like to nominate someone at your club for the Monash Leadership Award, please click here. Nominees must be under 18 years of age and be currently involved with an SMJFL club or the league.