When people give to charity – whether financially or through volunteering – it makes them feel happier, and boosts their health.
Christine Williams, who was first introduced to Youth Off The Streets 15 years ago, is a volunteer who finds giving back to young people hugely rewarding.
When she first heard about the Communities Inspiring and Teaching Youth (CITY) Project from a friend on Facebook, she leaped at the chance to use her teaching skills to enhance the wellbeing of young people in need.
“Between primary and high school, young people’s opportunities and hope can get lost under the reality of their circumstances,” Christine says.
“It’s such a shame because I think young people have amazing potential.”
Christine has since supported seven teenagers to navigate the early years of secondary school through the CITY Project’s Bright Minds Tribe program – an interactive program that aimed to enhance the interpersonal and academic skills required for young learners to realise their potential.
Once a week, Christine participated in one-hour Zoom seminars beyond traditional tutoring sessions.
“Initially, we asked how the students were doing and whether a certain issue was bothering them.”
“We then delivered a lesson on a particular life skill, like solving problems or structuring paragraphs, and finished by breaking out to do homework or individual assessment help with some of the kids.”
The Bright Minds Tribe completed its final seminar at the end of 2022, but Christine found her experience with the project gratifying.
Watching the young people develop confidence and pride in their educational achievements made her particularly happy.
“Seeing young people smile, grow and smash their goals, all over the course of a year, was amazing.”
To anyone considering working with young people, Christine says “just give it a go.”
“Volunteering is a great way to connect with the community and other like-minded people. You’re coming to serve others, so workplace politics get left at the door.”
“Working with young people is a privilege, so you should do anything you can to support them.”
Christine began volunteering with The CITY Project’s Bright Minds Tribe in 2022.
“It’s not easy work, but it’s rewarding work,” agrees CITY Project Worker Sabrina Misela.
“There’s nothing like making a difference in your community and inspiring young people to do the same.”
The CITY Project forges intergenerational bonds and empowers community members to organise life-changing initiatives in their local government areas (LGAs).
Sabrina is responsible for CITY Project’s day-to-day operations within the Canterbury–Bankstown LGA. She promotes community wellbeing by building multicultural and interfaith connections between young people and local volunteers.
“The goal is to design sustainable events and activities that can eventually be community-led once we leave,” Sabrina explains.
“We go in for a year, and we give the volunteers community development, risk assessment and asset-based training – all the support they need to design and implement their own projects.”
Sabrina is currently in initial consultations with young people from the Canterbury–Bankstown area for 2023 projects.
“They’re talking a lot about not having youth representation or voice in the LGA in which we’re working,” she recalls.
“We could start a leadership group that includes mentoring and motivates young people to create a better life for themselves.”
Sabrina is also searching for additional CITY Project volunteers who can give back to the community for two hours per week.
“We’re looking for a diverse range of volunteers who are genuinely interested and passionate about working with young people,” she says.
“We’re flexible, seeing as many volunteers are enrolled in university or working full time.”
These volunteers would help to expand the CITY Project to the Fairfield LGA, assist in transitioning virtual projects to the physical world, and devise event days and afternoon activities that align with CITY’s sustainability plan.
“We’re sensitive to whatever time they can give us because, as an organisation, we’re thankful for any volunteers who join us.”
Click here to learn more about volunteering opportunities with The CITY Project and our other support services in 2023.