Mackay boy’s heart of gold takes out Queensland award

Tage Guzowski has taken out the gong for the Fred Hollows Humanity Awards being named this year’s Queensland Junior Ambassador for his work towards suicide prevention with the Grapevine Group.

Tage was nominated by proud mum and a Grapevine Group founder Debbie Knight who says she is thrilled her son has been recognised for the work he does.

“When I was writing the nomination form, I included that Tage had his heart on becoming a surgeon to help others,” Debbie said.

“I know my son has the qualities this Award asks for like compassion, integrity and kindness, but also I knew when I was nominating Tage that he’d be up against hundreds of others like him.

“I had no idea he’d win it for the whole of Queensland. It was really special to see him receive an award in Queensland Parliament.”

Tage started volunteering with the Grapevine Group at the age of five personally distributing over 1000 Help-a-Mate cards in his short life. The life-saving cards list the Mackay region’s suicide prevention resources.

When he was younger, he attended events like Christmas Carols at the MECC and handed out cards at the door.

These days Tage has taken his responsibility to the Help-a-Mate card distribution to an extra level by preparing Help-a-Mate Hub kits for organisations that have signed up as official distribution points, staffs Grapevine stalls and helps out with his mum at fundraisers like the Rotary Club of Mackay North’s high tea by making sure Help-a-Mate cards are at the place settings.

Tage has set up the Grapevine Group’s stall at the Mackay Regional Council’s Sports Expo, and most recently at the Run for MI Life event and distributed the Help-a-Mate cards to anyone who was interested.

Tage himself was amazed he won the Humanity Award, but was quick to spruik the Grapevine Group message when asked why he does what he does.

“Grapevine Group is important because it saves lives,” Tage said.

At the tender age of 11, this young man has been volunteering for suicide prevention for more than half his life.

Laurence Manning, Grapevine president, said he could not be prouder of Tage and his work towards suicide prevention.

“Tage has worked very closely with his mother as a volunteer for a number of years and he has made a valuable contribution to suicide prevention,” Mr Manning said.

“I am delighted for Tage because not only are his efforts rewarded, but also that he continues his work spreading Grapevine’s suicide prevention message Queensland-wide.”
Fred Hollows Humanity Awards are open to any Year 6 student and they can be nominated by a teacher, principal, parent or community member.

The Junior Ambassador Award recognizes those making an outstanding difference in the community and is awarded to only eight children each year in Australia, one for each state or territory. With this win, Tage has been asked to nominate a Fred Hollows Foundation project to receive $5000, donated by corporate partner Specsavers.

He has chosen to support the integrated eye care project in the Northern Territory for Indigenous Australians to address avoidable blindness.