National heroes awarded at #ChangeMakers ConferenceRLabs representatives Brent Williams and Conrad Petersen with Lead SA Founder,Terry Volkwyn.
Jenna Lowe and Marlon Parker have just been named this year’s National Lead SA Heroes, each receiving a cash donation of R100 000 thanks to the Dis-Chem Foundation for a charity of their choice.
These phenomenal individuals were awarded at the #ChangeMakers Conference, which took place at the University of Johannesburg’s Sanlam Auditorium on 15 August 2015.
Jenna was diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, a degenerative, life-threatening condition, at the age of 17. Through the Jenna Lowe Trust, her family made every effort to acquire the right medical care to improve Jenna’s quality of life. Despite the tireless efforts of her family and friends, Jenna’s health deteriorated and she passed away earlier this year.
Jenna’s legacy continues to encourage South Africans to register as Organ Donors through her novel birthday invitation known as getmeto21.com. Organ donor registrations increased in the months after she launched and the campaign went a long way to raise awareness for organ donation.
Founder of Reconstructed Living Labs , Marlon was born in Silvertown on the Cape Flats. He has never allowed his circumstances to hinder his journey to a life of success and, most importantly, significance. RLabs which has its main hub in Athlone is an environment for community driven innovation and reconstruction.
Its model includes establishing Youth Cafes in communities. To use the Youth Cafes, young people need to do good in their communities. For every act of social good, they are awarded with virtual currency, known as Zlatos, which can be used to purchase refreshments, attend empowerment courses, or even go to the local hairdresser.
The RLabs model has proven to be such a driver for change that it has already been adopted in 21 other countries.
“Both Jenna and Marlon have shown the power of one active citizen, and we are delighted that the funds from the Dis-Chem Foundation can go towards strengthening their legacy by building capacity at the Organ Donor Foundation, and RLabs,” said Dis-Chem Foundation founder, Lynette Saltzman.
Over the last year, Lead SA has called on the public to nominate ordinary South Africans doing uplifting work in their communities.
Through these nominations, two heroes are selected on a monthly basis in an adult and youth category in Gauteng and the Western Cape, while one winner is selected from KwaZulu-Natal. From the monthly winners, regional leaders were selected and those names were considered in the National round.
A panel consisting of representatives from Lead SA and the Independent Group have the daunting task of selecting one national adult and one youth winner.
Jenna and Marlon were in the running for top honours against Cindy Norcott , the Building Blocks Foundation and Karli Coetzee . Each of the three runner-ups will receive a cash donation of R16 667 from the Dis-Chem Foundation for a charity of their choice.