It's not about the money, says new OAM Peter Munday
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It's not about the money, says new OAM Peter Munday

For most employers interviewing a prospective employee, hearing that the young man before them is trying to quite ice and rebuild life after addiction would put them in the too hard pile.

But for Peter Munday, an admission like that not only didn't put him off, but motivated him to help the young man turn his life around by giving him a job.

Peter Munday presenting a cheque to the Canberra Hospital Foundation.

Peter Munday presenting a cheque to the Canberra Hospital Foundation.

It's just one of many stories Mr Munday can share about the hundreds of young men and women he has mentored in Canberra, one of the reasons he has been awarded a medal of the Order of Australia this Australia Day.

He estimates he has mentored around 400 young men and women, motivated by his own difficulties as a young man, dealing with bullying and the end of his parents' marriage, as well as finally being diagnosed with dyslexia.

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"Instagram, Facebook, pictures that are being sent, texts, it's really tough out there for kids and all that social media ia really affecting our kids," Mr Munday said, explaining the way challenges for young people have changed.

Mr Munday has also been a generous fundraiser and donor to many charities and causes around Canberra, including being a major sponsor of the adolescent ward at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children and facilitating the refurbishment of The Cottage, a day centre for young people seeking treatment for mental health issues.

Starting his charity involvement with the Starlight Foundation, Mr Munday said he thought more needed to be done for adolescents in the community. He's also a major sponsor for Menslink, and said he is humbled by the honour, but that it wouldn't be possible without the generous donations of those who attend events and buy tickets.

"Canberra's such a generous community at giving back. I don't think it happens with me doing this solely, I'm the captain of the ship that steers the way but but it's the support of everyone else that makes it the way it is."

Through his role as principal for Lennock Volkswagen in Phillip, Mr Munday has been able to run car raffles and other events to aid his fundraising efforts, he emphasises that the company has backed him often.

And that man who got the job? He's still working for Mr Munday, is also a Menslink mentor and is thriving.

"You've gotta just give people a go," Mr Munday said.

Sally Whyte is a reporter for The Canberra Times covering the public service.

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