As the country looks forward to the Australian of the Year announcements on the eve of Australia Day, Bondies can take pride in the fact that one of our own was included on this year’s honour roll.
In recognition of her work in establishing the Australia-wide Rogue & Rouge Foundation, Bachelor of Communication student Nicole Gibson was one of the finalists for Queensland’s Young Australian of the Year.
While child protection activist Jordyn Archer was ultimately named as the State’s representative at the national level, it is a huge honour for Nicole to be chosen as one of only four finalists in the youth category.
“I was so humbled when I got the phone call to say I was a finalist,” said 20-year-old Nicole.
“I was just about to present a workshop to a group of teenagers at Bondi and it really struck me that the message I was about to share with them – that you should always listen to your truth – had just been totally affirmed in my own life.
“It was such a profound moment. When I started out on this journey, a lot of people probably thought I was taking on too much, but I listened to my instincts and persevered.
“Four years later, we now have this amazing organisation that is changing the lives of young people all over Australia and really making a difference.”
After battling anorexia as a teenager, Nicole established the Rogue & Rouge Foundation in 2011 with the help of a $5,000 Sunsuper ‘Dreams for a Better World’ grant. Her mission was to raise awareness of mental health and the negative body image issues affecting young men and women around Australia.
She has since presented workshops and talks to school groups nationwide, visiting 250 schools just in the past twelve months.
In 2012, she received the Gold Coast City Council’s Youth Achievement, was named Gold Coast Youth Citizen of the Year and was selected as one of Australia’s Young Social Pioneers. In 2013, she was named Gold Coast Youth Volunteer of the Year and was a finalist for the Queensland Young Australian of the Year.
And she’s achieved all this while studying at Bond.
“Being able to do the Foundation work while I’m still studying has broadened my horizons and given me a more rounded perspective,” said Nicole.
“It has really been a full time job for the past three years, but after I finish my Communication degree in May, I’ll have even more time to devote to the Foundation.
“And, hopefully one day, there won’t be a job there for me at all because I’ll have done what I set out to do and there’ll be no need for the Foundation.”
The Rogue & Rouge Foundation will hold a fundraising trivia night at Kurrawa Surf Club on Friday, 14 February. If you’d like to go along or put in a team, you’ll find more information on the Foundation’s Facebook page.