Christy Hartlage, Connect Child and Family Services - YAWN Program a local Westfield hero

When Christy Hartlage moved to the Blue Mountains from New Zealand, she had a 10-month-old son who didn't sleep and no support in the area.

Christy Hartlage

Christy Hartlage

"I would often cry, wishing we had a grandmother nearby who wanted to hold the baby so I could have a shower or something to eat," she said.

YAWN (You Ask, We Nurture), was born eight years ago out of Christy's desperation "and the amazing community support we eventually found".

Ms Hartlage runs YAWN as part of Connect Child and Family Services and links volunteers with parents who need a helping hand.

Westfield Penrith announced on Thursday August 26 its three Westfield Local Heroes, as nominated and voted for by members of the Penrith community. Ms Hartlage is one of them. Brooke Wilkie, NADO and Nicole Celeban from Nepean Therapy Dogs are the other two recipients.

Earlier this year the Penrith community was called upon to submit nominations for everyday heroes they believe would benefit from the recognition. A total of six finalists were shortlisted before being put to public vote. The affiliated organisations of the successful heroes have each been awarded a $10,000 grant to further support the positive and important contributions they make in the community.

The 2019 Westfield Local Heroes program ran across 40 Westfield centres throughout Australia and New Zealand, with 120 grants and a total of $1.2M awarded. The program applies to a variety of sectors, including business, sport, government, education, sports, welfare, community and not-for-profit. It will return in February 2020.