JRS volunteers: there for others and faithful to our mission

“As the Arrupe project expands with the launch of our new community centre we now need more volunteers.”

The second week of May is National Volunteer Week, an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers. This year’s theme is “Give Happy, Live Happy.”

According to Volunteer Australia – the peak body for volunteers – 92 percent of volunteers are very satisfied with their volunteering and 95 percent say that volunteering is related to feelings of wellbeing. Sustained volunteering is also associated with greater health and happiness.

As we know, JRS volunteers are there for others and are faithful to our mission – to accompany, serve and advocate for asylum seekers and refugees.

In celebrating the launch of Arrupe community centre on May 10th, which was during National volunteer Week, we also recognised the contributions of our valued volunteers by presenting them with certificates and JRS name badges.

At the launch the Director of JRS, Fr Aloysious Mowe SJ, said that volunteers had underpinned the work of JRS since it first started working in refugee camps in Southeast Asia in the 1980s. So volunteers continue to play a vital role in the Arrupe Project.

Having facilitated three volunteer training programs, with another one due on June 6, we have now trained about sixty volunteers. Despite the coming and going of some volunteers due to work, family, and study commitments, that number still remains high at around fifty.

As the Arrupe project expands with the launch of our new community centre we now need more volunteers to fulfil the roles of hospitality, reception, teaching English, assisting at the food bank, participating in the cooking together group, home visiting, and our new playgroup. If you’d like to volunteer for JRS send me an email to arrupevolunteers@jrs.org.au

I’d like to conclude with a reflection from one of our volunteers:

“With my Vietnamese background and having been a refugee after the Vietnam War, I had to understand and face our history, both present and future, hoping there would be no more asylum seekers. It’s the reason why I’m volunteering at JRS. I have met a lot of refugees at JRS, and they tell me many stories about living in countries without freedom and the danger of war. Also they tell me about the reality of their lives on board boats, crossing the ocean and national borders. It’s really terrible. I can’t believe that this can still happen in our world. I’m working at JRS every second Wednesday, assisting with food-bank, and offering hospitality. The most important thing in these activities is to make these people who are seeking asylum to feel they are welcome in Australia.” – Joseph Hy Nguyen SVD

By Sister Margaret Guy, Volunteers Coordinator

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