Highett Football Club (FC) player Eve Kennard has been recognised as the Monash University Leader of the Month for May.
Eve, 9, is the second Highett FC Monash University Leader of the Month for 2021.
Eve has been recognised for her efforts in spreading awareness of the growing homeless population across Victoria by writing to her local MP for Bentleigh, Nick Staikos.
There were an estimated 15,890 people without homes in Victoria on Census night in 2016 – an increase of 43 per cent between 2006 and 2016
Eve’s poem, entitled ‘I am still a person’, was addressed to Mr Staikos, and he read the poem out in Parliament on June 1.
I may have no money, but I am still a person.
I may have no one as company, but I am still a person.
I may have no food, but I am still a person.
I may have no house, but I am still a person.
I may live on the streets, but I am still a person.
I may be homeless, but I am still a person.
Mr Staikos credited Eve for her initiative, stating that “while many people walk past homeless people on the street without a thought, Eve and several other young people who have been in touch with me about this only see the human element of this issue.”
Eve told SMJFL media that it “felt good” to get the message out to the wider community.
“[It] makes me feel really good that the message was getting across and that people were noticing what happens.”
Eve said she was inspired to take action after she visited the city with her sister last year.
“My sister had a project and she decided to do it about the homeless, so she made some sandwiches and we went into the city and handed them out,” she said.
“That’s when I realised how many people there were that didn’t have houses and had to live on the streets in the cold.”
Eve said she met with Mr Staikos following his recitation of the poem, and had the opportunity to speak with him about the issue.
“It was really good. We were chatting about how we could help and how homelessness could start,” she said.
Eve said she hopes to continue to set an example for the rest of the wider community with her friend Zoe.
“In the future, I think Nick Staikos will be coming to me and Zoe’s school (Southmoor Primary School) and we’re going to be having a talk with the principal and getting the school donating toiletries because that’s a big part of homelessness.”
Eve and Zoe will together be running and managing this fundraising drive.
Eve explained it was important to provide hygiene products so people could feel good about themselves.
“People want to be able to wash and brush their teeth and have soap with them, otherwise they just don’t feel that good.”
Eve described leadership on and off the field as having “sportsmanship and a good attitude”.
The South Metro Junior Football League and Monash University congratulate Eve for showing great leadership and inspiring her Highett JFC teammates.
If you would like to nominate someone at your club for the Monash University Leadership Award, you can do so here. Nominees must be under 18 years of age and be currently involved with an SMJFL club or the league.