Private Property hosts the inaugural CARE awards breakfast

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

On the 16th of October 2013 Private Property hosted the first CARE Awards prize-giving at the plush Durban Country Club. Attendees were treated to a sunny breakfast spread before proceedings took over.

The CARE Awards are the brain child of Jill Corfield (EAAB) with the intention to recognise estate agents who serve their community, either by way of donations, or through service to worthy causes. In this way, even the agent earning the least commission can be recognised for “civic duty in the community”.

This initiative is not about sales, income or commission. The CARE Awards are a golden opportunity for agents to promote their image with the general public and become known as an integral part of their community.

The CARE Awards were divided into two categories. Funds Raised and Service to the Community. This was further split into Individual Agents, Agent Principles and Agency Branches. Each category winner received a cheque for a charity of their choice to the value of R1000, while the overall winner received a trophy and a R35 000 cheque for their selected charity.

The Judging Panel consisted of IEASA members, attorneys, the press and Private Property staff. While there were many who contributed in different ways to their communities, there could only be one winner.

Lisa Steytler du Plessis of RE/MAX Panache was voted as The CARE Awards Winner 2013. She is a tireless supporter of a number of charities and causes that are dear to her heart.

“Oh my goodness, what an honour to be in a room full of such community driven individuals! When I heard what each and every one of them did I was humbled by their commitment to their charities of choice. Well done to all of them on their dedication to making a difference in their community and in the lives of others!” said Lisa.

Her son Jordan was diagnosed at a young age with a chronic heart condition and Portal Hypertension (a liver-related disease). His life expectancy was four. He is now 13.

Over the years Jordan has needed any number of treatments and has received more than 300 blood transfusions. Lisa has, as a result, become a spokesperson for the SA National Blood Service (SANBS), creating awareness of the organisation and its aims at many functions and events.

In 2011, Jordan was found to be partially deaf, and was admitted to the Open Air School for the Disabled – which is where Lisa’s passion for working with special needs children began. This was also the year in which Lisa become involved with Reach for a Dream after Jordan was a dream recipient.

Last year, Lisa was campaigning for SANBS when she was exposed to the work of the Sunflower Fund, which raises funds for stem cell and bone marrow donation. Subsequently, while Jordan was undergoing surgery at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Lisa met Paul, a young man who had received a bone marrow transplant. Paul succumbed to his illness but Lisa has registered as a donor to honour his memory.

Lisa’s book, The Gift of Life, was published in 2012 and she donates copies to supporters of these various charities as a gesture of thanks for their generosity. She also “harasses” companies (her word!) for donations of wheelchairs and other apparatus for differently-abled children. Most recently, Lisa started a blog for all blood donors and parents of ill or disabled children, and also to raise awareness of her chosen charities.

The entrants for Funds Raised as an Agency Branch were as follows…

  • Grant Gavin of RE/MAX Panache for the agency’s work with Reach for a Dream. The Agents from this branch contribute a voluntary percentage of their commission, on every sale that registers. They annually raise between R40 000 and R50 000 from these agent contributions. In August, the office held a Barnyard Event where they raised additional funds to the value of R63 000 for this worthy cause.

  • Jenny Swanson of Harcourts for the agency’s work with various charities through the Harcourts Foundation which supports a number of charities across South Africa. The KZN initiatives included funds raised for the Grace College Disadvantaged School, Amamzimtoti Cares which includes caring for the less fortunate in the community, The Give a Child a Family Organisation for Children who have been orphaned by HIV, as well as the National Braai day Initiative. Through these KZN initiatives, funds in excess of R20 000 have been raised.

The entrants for Service to the Community* as an *Agency *Principle *were as follows…

  • Lee Ellis from Tyson Westville for his work with the Sondela Creche in Chesterville where they have established a vegetable garden to help supplement the children’s meals. They visit the garden three times a week to harvest produce for the crèche and to water and weed the vegetables. Lee and his team have been involved with maintenance projects at the school like upgrading lighting and installing wall mounted fans.

  • Lindi Honey of Maxprop Westville with her work with the Blood Donor Clinic. Lindi turns the Maxprop Westville office into a donor clinic three or four times a year. The office informs all clients about their blood drive and gives out pamphlets at robots and show houses. Lindi is involved with the Robin Hood Foundation, where she assists with supplying gifts to the aged at various old age homes throughout Durban. This includes things as simple as a facecloth or toothpaste. Every September Lindi embarks on a project with Rotary Club Westville which involves cleaning up the suburb, doing things like garden work and picking up litter to improve the aesthetics of the area.

The entrants for Service to the Community as an Individual Agent were as follows…

  • Beatrice Gibbens of Re/Max Toti who raised funds to save Toti SPCA from bankruptcy. Beatrice Started the fundraising committee in Toti and set up the charity shop and bookstore, she was on the SPCA Toti committee for a few years. Nowadays Beatrice collects neglected dogs from rural areas which she takes to the SPCA. On an on-going basis she enables the sterilisation of rescue dogs and cats at her own home as well as rescuing animals from poor conditions and fostering them until loving homes are found.

  • Sue Foster of Maxprop Westville for her charity called Project O in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, which aims to help children infected or affected with HIV by providing financial assistance, support, education and basic medical care “within the loving and supportive environment of Christian teachings”. Sue dedicates Wednesday mornings to delivering food parcels, second hand clothing and toys to the HIV/AIDS orphans.

  • Joy Chiang of Pam Golding Durban North who is committed to de-sensitising mental illness and helping people understand the signs and symptoms of mental health problems in themselves and others. Joy established the SOLOS organisation (Survivors of Loved One's Suicide). She gives her time for counselling and supporting those who have lost loved ones through suicide by running monthly support groups. She also assists with SADAG (SA Depression and Anxiety Group) who refer people to Joy for telephonic counselling. Joy also gives a lot of her own time and resources to the Khulani Children's Home and Holah Baby Shelter where she assists with paying of essential bills and giving the children lifts to church.

  • Lisa Steytler du Plessis of Re/Max Panache who is involved in numerous projects which are close to her heart. She is a spokesperson for the SANBS where she gives her time at various events and functions. Lisa is a bone marrow donor and diligent fundraiser for the Sunflower Fund. She works with special needs children at the Open Air School and assists with raffles, bake sales and sponsorships. Lisa is also active with the Reach for a Dream foundation, assisting with making wishes come true for Reach for a Dream recipients.

  • Sue Petzer of Pam Golding Toti for supporting Mabel's Haven in Kwa Makhuta (A Home of safety for children and the community). Sue Assists with School fees and Clothes, Food parcels, Easter and Christmas parties for the children, special outings during the year and special projects for specific needs like obtaining wheelchairs for the disabled in the community.

The CARE Awards are part of Private Property’s on-going CSI initiative and Private Property will continue to be involved in the support of charities and uplifting communities.

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