Young Star Supreme Award winner Ashleigh Keen-Burrow (16)
has continued to care for others since winning the award a
year ago. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
Spending most of your free time caring for the elderly is
not something most teenage girls would relish doing, but
Ashleigh Keen-Burrow (16) is not like most teenage girls.
Since she won the Young Star Supreme Award for outstanding
community service last year, Ashleigh has continued her
efforts to help others.
She had been volunteering at Marne Street Hospital for two
years before winning the award, and after she won it she was
offered a position as a caregiver.
Ashleigh said she had been caring for the elderly residents
as a job for nearly 12 months and absolutely loved it. She
also volunteers at the children's ward at Dunedin Hospital
every Saturday and attends for longer periods during the
She has just completed year 11 at Otago Girls' High School,
and received a cultural blue for her contribution to
She has also achieved her bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh
Awards and is set to complete her gold next year.
Ashleigh said she knew most girls her age did not have the
same passion for volunteering, but she had never been
particularly interested in the things many other girls were,
such as shopping.
''I just felt I wasn't really doing anything with my
Saturdays,'' she said when asked why she got involved at the
Marne Street Hospital.
All her work and volunteering could get in the way of
spending time with friends, but they understood and supported
her, Ashleigh said.
She had had a bit of bad luck over the past year, the weather
washing out events she was invited to attend because of her
award. Both the Chinese New Year, where she was to light
fireworks, and the 2012 Dunedin Trolley Derby, where she was
to fire the starting gun, were rained off.
Ashleigh wants to continue helping others by training as a
nurse when she leaves school.
Her mother, Amanda Burrow, said Ashleigh, the youngest of her
four children, had always wanted to help others.
''She is an old head on young shoulders. She has always been
as solid as a rock. I'm incredibly proud of her,'' she said.
- By Jonathan Chilton-Towle