Volunteer Stories

Volunteer Stories2017-11-29T10:09:01+00:00

Our volunteers are everyday people, doing extraordinary things. They give freely of their time and skills to help those seeking protection in our communities.

Get to know some of our wonderful volunteers here.

If you’d like to volunteer, please register with the Hub.

Hi, my name is Diana and I volunteer at RACS at the Auburn Outreach centre.

Describe you! I am a promoter of equality, a traveller, an avid reader and an aspiring social justice lawyer.

I began volunteering at RACS because I believe that everyone should have basic human rights and I knew that RACS assists a marginalised group of the community to achieve their basic rights as humans, to be granted safety.

The best part of volunteering at RACS is all the different people I interact with. RACS clients have immense gratitude for any help they receive, be it a 2-minute call or taking 2 hours to complete a form.

I hope: That someday soon the wider community adopts a more understanding and accepting perspective for the plights of people seeking asylum and refugees.

Hi, my name is Viv. I volunteer at the House of Welcome as a Community Kitchen volunteer each week for 4-5 hours.

I and another volunteer assist the chefs, who are clients of HOW, to prepare the Wednesday community lunch for 25 to 35 people. We sit and share the meal with the chefs, HoW clients and the staff.

One of my favourite parts of volunteering is getting to know the chefs and seeing how much they get out of the program. When they receive compliments for the food they have prepared it’s wonderful to see their joy on their faces.

I love when everyone mingles and laughs during the meal. Interacting with other volunteers and staff members at HoW gives me a sense of belonging to an amazing organisation.

Describe you! I've been a refugee advocate for many years, I am a good listener and mentor. I love preparing food from different countries with new migrants. An empowering experience for all.

Hi, my name is Richard.

I joined JRS just as it was about to launch its new Parramatta hub, Arrupe Place.

Why did you begin volunteering? I wanted to make a change in my life by giving back to society and began looking around for volunteer opportunities. A friend suggested JRS.

I didn’t know anything about the organisation until I arrived for the volunteer training day. It gave me a window into JRS, and resonated with me in terms of their outreach to refugees and as something I might want to pursue. I’d always been quite concerned as to the plight of refugees, and I was looking for something in my life that might give it a bit more meaning.

I hope: Hopefully through talking about my experiences and things that I learn here at the organisation there’s some possibility for change in people’s perceptions on refugees and people who seek asylum.

Hi my name is Julie.

I am a retired social worker and I volunteer at the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown, assisting with administration tasks and reception.

Why did you begin volunteering? I wanted to contribute to our community and support people seeking asylum, a group who have been misunderstood and mistreated in Australia. More selfishly, I wanted the social interaction and the rewards of working in a team towards a common purpose.

Do you have a favourite moment from volunteering? The elation we all feel when one of our clients is granted protection.

Describe you! I'm a traveller, a live music enthusiast, animal lover, and a Sydney Swans fan.

Hi my name is Jordan. I volunteer at RACS, working with clients mostly over the phone and sometimes with an interpreter.

I do statement read-backs (ensuring clients completely understand and are happy with their statement); administrative tasks; and conduct legal and general research, often into socio-political situations in other countries.

Why did you begin volunteering? As a law student I wanted to gain more experience working in an area that I am passionate about, RACS was the perfect opportunity.

What’s the best part about volunteering? Knowing that regardless of what you’re doing, you’re contributing to RACS’ ability to help some of society’s most vulnerable people.

Describe you! I'm an extroverted, enthusiastic, sports-mad, music-loving, fun-seeking hyphen-user.

Hi, my name is Marthe.

JRS’s mission really stuck a chord with me because I too had once been a stranger in this country. At eighteen I’d married my husband in Mauritius and a month later we were on a boat heading for Australia. Volunteering at JRS is an opportunity for me to pass kindness on to those in our community who need it most.

Working in the food bank programme means I get to meet so many amazing people, all of them seeking asylum in Australia. I see how difficult it is for them to accept our help. They are extremely grateful and need our assistance desperately, but at the same time what they’d really like is the opportunity to work, the chance to contribute meaningfully to our community.

Every client who comes to the Arrupe drop-in centre is facing dire circumstances, but they take on each day with a bravery, strength and dignity that I so admire. I’ve discovered at JRS that what they say about volunteering is one hundred per cent true—you do always get so much more than you give.