One of Cowra's most passionate and recognised volunteers is putting her hand up for Cowra Council at the local government elections in September.
Nikki Kiss OAM has announced she will run for a seat on council, and says she hopes to further promote a thriving community through advocacy, opportunity and resilience.
"I achieve a great sense of fulfillment when I help others," she said.
A proud resident of Cowra for 20 years, Nikki has thrown herself into volunteer work across a number of groups and organisations.
"Many years ago my career as a project manager in the public service was abruptly shelved due to my caring responsibilities for family members with disabilities," she said.
"As a full-time carer, I never stopped working for the greater good of the community, albeit it in a volunteer capacity."
During her time as a full-time carer, Nikki achieved certificates in real estate, law, early childhood education and community services, established the Crafty Kids Workshop with a handful of dedicated volunteers at Cowra Information and Neighbourhood Centre (CINC), was Treasurer for Riding for Disabled Cowra and volunteered as a community visitor at Bilyara.
She also founded Chance's Clothes Project in 2012, following the stillbirth of her daughter Chance.
The group consists of 70 volunteers from Australia, UK, USA and Singapore and has provided more than 5000 individually packaged still-birth burial gown packs to 170 hospitals across Australia.
With two children now having left home and two of high school age, Nikki has been relieved of her full-time caring duties.
"I now have more time to contribute to our community, and am keen to help it thrive," she said.
Nikki has continued her work with CINC, serving as Vice-Chair and Secretary and playing an integral role in the establishment of the newly added disability sector.
She is also the only ATO Accredited Tax Help Volunteer for Cowra, taking the pressure off hundreds of locals over the years by preparing their tax returns free of charge.
Nikki is also actively involved in Cowra Council's Access Committee, the Cowra Disability Alliance and the Cowra Domestic Violence Network.
Nikki has also contributed to the community online, running pages such as "Cowra, Can You Help?", "Cowra Community Events Noticeboard", "Cowra Community Compliments" and "Cowra Pay It Forward".
She recently established Neighbourhood Watch Cowra, supported by Cowra Police, Cowra Council and Cowra Lions Club.
For her efforts, Nikki was awarded an OAM in 2019, placed on the Hidden Treasurers Honour Roll in 2017 and received the Lions Club Citizen of the Year Award, also in 2017.