When Alan Wylie and Jim Briers walk through the doors of CatholicCare’s Refugee Hub they are ready to make a difference.
Whether it’s talking to clients, filling out paperwork, or advocating for refugees in our community, their support has a positive impact.
As volunteers, Alan and Jim help in any way they can by sharing their skills with others.
“I get involved in just about anything at the Refugee Hub, from things like assisting the Migration Service through to what I call ‘battling the bureaucracy’ and supporting our clients with their dealings with various government departments,” Jim says.
“I am also involved with the driver training program and, in general, just trying to help refugee families sort out their issues where we can help.
“In addition to that I get involved in the food delivery program from time to time and anything that is going on that might need my support.”
Similarly, Alan assists across various programs.
“I had been looking around for quite some time to get involved with some refugee support work,” Alan explains.
“I had been dealing with a refugee organisation based in Melbourne that was mainly a legal support service and it was a bit too far away but then I saw an article about the Refugee Hub in the local paper about a year ago, so I got in touch with the team, and it’s grown from there.
“I help people to fill in forms for things like their applications for housing or lodging complaints about certain things and I also support the driving program.”
When asked why they volunteer, both answered with a really simple response – they have the power to help people and don’t want it to go to waste.
“I think everyone should be volunteering,” Alan says.
“I’ve always felt particularly interested in refugee issues because they have had such a tough time and with governments struggling to provide the support that’s needed we all need to pitch in and fill in the gaps to help people.”
Jim adds you get to see the impact your work has.
“When you volunteer here, you see the results of what you do,” he says.
“For example, through the driving program, you see people from refugee backgrounds getting their license and being able to drive which is a huge step forward for them.
“I would encourage anyone to give it a go, there is a wide range of opportunities, people from all walks of life can come in and find positive vibes and help people along the way.”
For more information about volunteering with the Refugee Hub, please visit www.catholiccare.org.au/community-programs/community-refugee-hub/volunteer/
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