The local brothers behind the PKUP service that drives you and your car home if you’re unable to drive have been named the 2019 Young Canberra Citizens of the Year.
The entrepreneurial brothers, environmental activists and community leaders were recognised at Friday night’s (12 April) award ceremony at QT Hotel for their entrepreneurial spirit, business skills and commitment to community service.
22-year-old Josh Gonzalez and 23-year-old Oscar Gonzalez founded PKUP two years ago, a driving service that allows customers to be taken home in their own car, ensuring customers and their cars return home safely.
While keeping busy as company directors of the service, Oscar and Josh volunteer for a number of not-for-profit organisations and community groups across Canberra and even donate a portion of each PKUP trip to charity.
The 2019 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards, now in its 30th year, recognises individuals and groups of young people aged between 12 and 25 years who have made a significant contribution through their personal endeavours or who have been actively involved in the ACT community.
Minister for Children, Youth and Families Rachel Stephen-Smith handed the award to the two young Canberrans and said they were are a great example of what young people can achieve.
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“Their commitment to building a business that focuses on connections with people and giving back where they can is to be admired,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.
“This is only the beginning for Josh and Oscar, I’m sure they will go on to achieve many more milestones and continue to be great representatives for young people in Canberra.
“The Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards are a celebration of young people’s commitment and vision to create a Canberra where everyone is welcomed and valued. The winners and finalists are role models, not only to other young people, but to us all.”
Lily Haskins was named the 2019 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Junior Award for her volunteer work at Stella Bella Children’s Centre where she spends each school holiday helping to care for seriously ill children.
Other 2019 recipients include Shiralee Sankey, who is a passionate advocate for disadvantaged youth and had campaigned for more youth services in Canberra; and Tilleah Roselli who was recognised for her role as a Youth Leader for the CREATE Foundation, supporting children and young people in out of home care.
The Group Achievement award went to Young Women Speak Out, a group that advocates on issues affecting young women in Canberra.
Local artist Julia Faragher was also recognised for her project “From Amateur to Artist”, which aims to give young Canberra women of various backgrounds the opportunity to talk about the intersection of their art with their lives while James Jayatilaka was awarded for his recycling responsible program “Cans in Crates”, which encourages environmentally-responsible behaviour.