2019 Australia Day Ambassadors Announced
Posted on: 19.12.2018
Ralph and Kathy Kelly, founders of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, have been announced as Wollondilly’s Australia Day ambassadors for 2019.
The couple, who lost their eldest son Thomas in tragic circumstances in Kings Cross in 2012, will be special guests on 26 January in Picton’s Botanic Gardens.
Through the Foundation, the Kelly family have implemented the “Take Kare Safe Space" program (after Thomas Kelly’s initials) in December 2014, with a vision of “ensuring all of our youth come home safely”. This initiative operates at Kings Cross each Saturday night from 10pm till 4am, with sites also operating from Town Hall and Darling Harbour on both Friday and Saturday nights as well as during special events such as New Year’s Eve. The locations are based around high-density night-time venues.
The service is operated by teams of volunteers, led by a trained paid team leader. They stretch out across the streets of Sydney assisting people who may be intoxicated or drug affected, under age youth, people who are vulnerable or those subjected to physical and sexual assault, self-harm, violence and theft.
Mayor Matthew Deeth said, “We welcome Ralph and Kathy Kelly as our Wollondilly Australia Day ambassadors for 2019.”
“They have been through a lot personally and have worked very hard to make Sydney a safer place for all our young people.”
In July 2016, the Kelly’s younger son, Stuart, also just 18 years old, took his own life after being targeted over the Sydney Lock-out laws and his stance around making Sydney a safe city after losing his brother.
The Kelly’s started the “Stay Kind” movement in memory of Stuart, based on his initials and his values of kindness. Stay Kind is currently working with Federal and State politicians, education, parents and families.
Wollondilly’s Australia Day celebrations will be on from 8am-12pm on 26 January 2019 in the Picton Botanical Gardens, with plenty of free activities including a BBQ breakfast and lunch.