Since 2011, the ZEST Awards have recognised the extraordinary achievements of individuals who have demonstrated passion and dedication to the Community sector in Western Sydney, through the Hall of Fame Award.

In 2017, social worker Marnel LaGarde was inducted to the Hall of Fame, alongside fellow recipient Yvonne Santalucia.  Marnel began her career as a social worker at Parramatta/Holroyd Family Support Service – originally known as Parramatta Family Supports. Now Manager of the organization, Marnel has been a dedicated operative in the community sector for over thirty years and is a most worthy Hall of Fame inductee.

Marnel was a vital catalyst during a period of significant growth for the Parramatta/Holroyd Family Support Service. Marnel’s initiative and input have contributed to the broadening of projects and services offered to the community, in an organisation initially staffed by one member, subsequently growing to 15. Crucial services provided by Parramatta/Holroyd Family Support Service include ‘Staying Home Leaving Violence’, Young Parents Group, Early Intervention services and outreach programs across the local and surrounding communities. The first university-qualified social worker in the organisation, Marnel brings a special blend of insight and knowledge, drawn from her education and experiences, to Parramatta/Holroyd Family Support Service and the wider community sector.

“I enjoy my job and I enjoy the community. I see families growing and I see families having pleasure coming here; you know it’s worthwhile for them to attend groups and you can see outcomes from that. It’s not just enjoyment and growing experiences for each of our employees – but also for the clients and the communities,” Marnel said.

Colleagues and associates who have known Marnel for many years and who have worked in partnership with her hold her in high esteem, both professionally and at a personal level.

Her dedication and selflessness, demonstrated over many years, are truly admirable and she is duly celebrated by her peers throughout the community sector.
“I think it’s nice for it to be acknowledged that you have put in 30 years of work. It’s nice that people put in the effort to nominate me,” she said.

Marnel embodies the essence of the ZEST ‘Hall of Fame Award’: an individual deserving of recognition and acknowledgement for the inspirational work she has accomplished throughout her career. On behalf of WSCF and ZEST, we thank Marnel for her significant contribution and commitment to the community sector across Western Sydney.

Explore WSCF’s ZEST Awards here.

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