Brisbane’s Young Citizen of the Year 2021, Apostolos (Lakis) Keramidas, is a man who is dedicated to promoting Greek culture and engaging city’s second- and third-generation “neolea” within the community.
It was his volunteer work with the Greek Orthodox Youth Association (GOYA) that prompted a work colleague to nominate him for the city’s award. His nominator said in a statement that: “Laki’s friendly personality, his preparedness to work hard and his capacity to relate to people are evident in all our community.”
“I was very surprised when my colleague submitted my name for nomination. It is humbling to be recognized but I am one of many who do the work as volunteers for GOYA,” said Mr Keramidas who works as a performance media specialist for Tabcorp.
GOYA is an organisation that was once Australia wide but is still strong in Queensland. While it is focused on working with the youth in the community, the organisation is also carrying out fundraising in other spheres such as youth sport, aged care and even to help rebuilding structures. It also provides study sessions and raises funds and organises youth soccer and touch football competitions.
Mr Keramidas said the organisation was also concerned with keeping in touch with the youths in other parts of the state, including the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and north Queensland.
Along with his volunteer work with GOYA, Mr Keramidas is also the co-host on Brisbane’s multicultural radio station 4EB. His radio programme is aimed at keeping Brisbane’s Greek youths in the loop with latest news in the community and with what is going on in Greece and Cyprus.
He is also a member of the Brisbane’s Paniyiri Greek Festival organizing committee.
In describing the work of its Young Citizen of the Year, the City of Brisbane said that: “Laki is a great role model for young people, demonstrating enthusiasm and respect for his heritage while significantly contributing to the landscape of Brisbane’s multicultural community.”
Mr Keramidassaid that it was a challenge to keep the youth in touch with their heritage. He added however that his award reflected a realization in Australia that the country was evolving as a multicultural society.
“The award is part of what Australia stands for. The plaque will hang on my wall for the rest of my life,” said Mr Keramidas.