CHOSEN as 2014 Newcastle Citizen of the Year, Stockton Pastor Rick Prosser is an asset to the community.
He was awarded the honour as a result of his decades of service to the community through initiatives such as RUSH and Cityserve.
About 10 years ago he developed the program RUSH at his place of worship, the C3 Church Victory, Charlestown.
The ongoing program aims to encourage and empower children who are considered "at risk".
The church works with Hunter school welfare departments to identify children at risk and assign them a mentor, someone who will take an interest in them, provide them with advice and most importantly, listen.
Mr Prosser said mentors often became part of the child's family.
"We just want to serve the needs of the community and help children in disadvantaged circumstances," he said.
His work with Cityserve also involved the renovation of six local surf clubs, including Dixon Park, Merewether and Cooks Hill.
He said the support from Newcastle City Council and the community was tremendous.
"It's great to see so many people work together," he said.
"If churches are honest we don't always know the needs of the community so it's great to work with Newcastle City Council and see its perspective."
Mr Prosser said he was humbled to be named Newcastle Citizen of the Year on Australia Day at Newcastle City Hall.