MELINDA Brown's commitment to link Lake Macquarie students to strong community role models was highlighted at a special awards ceremony this week.
The Cardiff resident was named Lake Macquarie Citizen of the Year at a pre-Australia Day ceremony at the council chambers on Monday night for her volunteering efforts.
Mrs Brown is the vice-president of the Muloobinbah Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, which advocates for cultural affirmation and the pursuit of equality.
As a volunteer, Mrs Brown organises Meet the Mob days at Lake Macquarie schools, so students can meet police officers, Centrelink and Roads and Maritime Services employees.
For 15 years she has supported children in more than 40 schools as a member of Muloobinbah, and for more than 10 years she has dedicated her time to children's reading programs, Aboriginal dancing and school NAIDOC week events through the West Wallsend Homework Centre.
She also helps engage more Aboriginal students in sport.
Mrs Brown said she hoped to continue to build the relationship between students, schools and welfare agencies this year and organise more Meet the Mob sessions.
"I just try and help out whenever I can," she said.
"We're all role models for our kids - I just try and show them what they can achieve if they try."