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Inspiring Perth social worker awarded 2020 John Curtin Medal

Media release

A passionate social worker who has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of young children dealing with grief, has been awarded the 2020 John Curtin Medal at a special ceremony held last night.

John Curtin Medallist Shelly Skinner and Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery
John Curtin Medallist Shelly Skinner and Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery

Shelly Skinner is a senior social worker at Perth Children’s Hospital and is the founder and CEO of Lionheart Camp for Kids – a free day-camp that provides guidance to children aged five to 12 years who have lost a loved one, as well as the surviving parents and guardians of those children.

Lionheart Camp for Kids, which runs three to four times per year, provides a safe space for children and their families to grieve, regardless of how the loved one has died. The camp aims to ensure no child grieves alone by introducing and connecting the children and families to others in a similar situation.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery congratulated Ms Skinner on being named the 2020 John Curtin Medallist for her inspirational work.

“Shelly saw the profound impact that a tragic event has on young children who are not guided or supported through the grieving process, when she worked as a palliative care social worker at Princess Margaret Hospital. Following these experiences, she co-founded Blue Skies children’s bereavement program – a day-camp which was run through Silver Chain from 2009 to 2013,” Professor Cordery said.

“Her work with Blue Skies led Shelly to create Lionheart Camp for Kids in 2013 – a vital service for the WA community which was set up entirely from scratch. It took Shelly several years to run the first camp and she has since run many successful camps for the Perth community.

“We are delighted to recognise Shelly for her dedication, passion, and substantial self-sacrifice and time she has put into establishing and growing the Lionheart charity. Her vision and values make her a worthy recipient of the 2020 John Curtin Medal.”

The John Curtin Medal is awarded annually by the University to recognise individuals or organisations displaying the attributes associated with Australia’s World War II Prime Minister – vision, leadership and a commitment to community service. The 2020 John Curtin Medallist joins 45 other outstanding individuals and organisations that have been recognised with Curtin University’s most prestigious non-academic award since 1998.

The John Curtin Medal is presented each year, on, or close to, October 7, the anniversary of John Curtin’s appointment to the office of Prime Minister in 1941.

Further information on Lionheart Camp for Kids can be found online here.