Without support from dedicated volunteers like Faye, we would not be able to provide one-to-one support for those in our Through the Looking Glass program.
The 10 week program includes parenting support and a playgroup for newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants in Shepparton, both of which Faye has supported.
Following a chance encounter with an old friend working at Uniting, Faye was intrigued to hear about the Uniting resettlement program. The program includes parenting support and a playgroup for newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants in Shepparton. After retiring from Occupational Therapy, it sounded like a perfect opportunity to continue supporting her community.
Welcoming people to the Shepparton area has always been something close to her heart.
“We live in a rural city where people have migrated here for many generations,” reflects Faye. “If we don’t find ways to interact and support one another, we’re at risk of alienating and isolating those new to our area.”
“I’m a follower of Jesus,” adds Faye. “And He speaks about welcoming the foreigner in the land. I lived in another country briefly and it really made a difference when someone helped me to understand the culture and language.”
“It’s almost a bit like cross-cultural mentoring,” Faye suggests. “We work on English together, and talk about all sorts of things, like the difference in schooling systems, but also just the day-to-day life of parenting in Australia. Watching the women become more confident and having a go, it’s great when you can support that.”
Faye started volunteering with the playgroup which was established to support mothers and young children. Her volunteering recently evolved to include helping newly-arrived mothers in a 10-week Parenting Support Program, Through The Looking Glass.
“There’s a lot of fun, a lot of laughter and joy that comes with sharing life. A lot of learning for me too. There’s places I may never travel to, but the world travels to us in this way.”
For members of the Uniting team such as Project Coordinator Denise Duncan, having Faye’s and other volunteers’ support has made a significant contribution to the team.
“That one-on-one support that Faye helps us to deliver is so valuable, particularly for a program like Through the Looking Glass. You’re able to give intensive support, you’re building relationships, you’re providing knowledge – real life knowledge too, and lived experience. Faye has just been such an asset to our team, a genuine Godsend!”