It’s been a big year for Moorabool teenager Keeley Johnson after forging on with charity Keeleys Cause and taking out Diana, Westfield Local Heroes and Aspect David Foster awards.

In December the 16-year-old will also find out if she has won the Community Hero section of the Regional Acheivement and Community Awards.

In just two years, Keeley’s Cause has raised more than $70,000 and presented 103 iPads through donations and sponsorship, merchandise sales and sausage sizzles.

Last night the Ballan teenager was one of four finalists for Victorian Young Australian of the Year 2021 – with high-profile footballer/boxer Tayla Harris taking out the gong.

Tayla Harris
After a photograph of Tayla kicking a goal became the target of sexualised trolling online in 2019, she courageously used this experience to fight online bullying and disrespect towards women.

Other finalists last night included:

Nathaniel Diong
Feeling helpless to make a difference in a world where thousands died each day, Nathaniel fell into clinical depression. Desperate to help youth realise they could make a difference, at 16, he founded Future Minds Network. Building socially-conscious start-ups, students solve big problems and practice skills for future employment including communication and problem-solving. The organisation also helps youth to create their own future jobs.

Dylan Langley
Dylan now works with the Home Stretch campaign, calling on governments to allow young people to continue in out-of-home care until age 21. He draws on his lived experience to advocate for this important change, to help provide greater protection for vulnerable young adults.

Tayla Harris will now go into the running for Young Australian of the Year announced on Australia Day 2021.

Keeley and mother Sharon. Photo: The Project, Channel 10

Keeley’s mother and Ballan Lions Club member Sharon Murphy said although her daughter did not claim the Victorian Young Australian of the Year crown ” she is – and always will be – a winner to us”.

“We say THANK YOU KEELEY for being the voice these children need to create inclusion and equality for their educations and lives.,” she said.

“You my girl are our TRUE HERO and SUPERSTAR.”

RELATED STORY: Ballan teen named Westfield Local Hero

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Author: Dev