From Luke Donnellan MP, State Member for Narre Warren North and Shadow Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC:
“The Juan Carlos Loyola OAM Award for Community Service will be an annual award presented to a resident of South-East Melbourne who has shown a long-term dedication to the local community through their volunteer work.
The award is named after Juan Carlos Loyola OAM, who has worked tirelessly for twenty years with the Doveton Special Soccer School and is presented by the State Member of Parliament for Narre Warren North, Luke Donnellan.
The Doveton Special Soccer School was founded in March 1993 by Mr Loyola and gives young people with a disability an opportunity to learn to play soccer.
Mr Loyola originally arrived in Australia from Argentina in 1977 and started working with the disabled in 1989. By 1990 he was working with the Special Olympics as the State Coach while also playing in the state soccer league for Brunswick.
A resident of Endeavour Hills, Mr Loyola’s motivations to help the disabled participate in soccer came out of a desire to see people with a disability enjoy the happiness that others could experience while playing sport, and not feel like second class citizens.
The Doveton Special Soccer School has been highly successful over the past 20 years, involving hundreds of young people across the South-East in sport and teaching them to play soccer.
The School has a proud history and is going from strength to strength, with 19 players in the past 7 years representing the Australia across the world.
The inaugural award will be presented to Mr Loyola on Wednesday March 27.
The committee for selection of the award in future years will be Luke Donnellan MP, State Member for Narre Warren North, Juan Carlos Loyola, and local resident Tricia Clarke.