For over five years, senior students at Clarendon have volunteered their time as Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council (BRMC) tutors. Students are provided with training to participate in Diversity Homework Club, during which they help children to further develop their fundamental literacy and numeracy skills.
BRMC aims to promote multiculturalism, cultural diversity, inclusion and the wellbeing of migrant communities throughout the Central Highlands Grampians Region. It also strives to create a space for people of all cultural backgrounds to come together and feel a part of the community.
“I wanted to participate in the program because I believe it has a significant impact,” said Year 12 student and volunteer, Sarah Crawford. “BRMC provides a comfortable environment in which children can learn while establishing a sense of community. The children we work with choose to participate because they are eager to learn, and it’s particularly rewarding to play a small part in their academic and social progress.”
Clarendon Year 12 Community Service Leader, Amyra Handa, has tutored for the BRMC since June 2022. She enjoys collaborating with other tutors to help organise and implement weekly lesson plans in English, Mathematics and Science.
Recently, her dedication to the program was recognised at the Centre for Multicultural Youth Education MY Education Awards. Presented by Victoria’s Minister for Education and Women, Natalie Hutchins MP, Amyra received the Highly Commended Volunteer Award.
“My motivation for becoming a peer tutor is deeply rooted in my own experiences as a child from an immigrant family,” said Amyra. “My past has allowed me to empathise and connect with children from ethnic backgrounds and help them navigate challenges that may not be understood by the wider community. Tutoring has provided me with an opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of others, while also allowing me to meet new people from diverse backgrounds and learn about different cultures and perspectives.”
Year 12 student, Zachary Shieh, discovered BRMC while his sister and Old Collegian, Chloe Shieh (2022), volunteered during her final year. Zachary begun volunteering in 2022 and hasn’t looked back since.
“My volunteering involves running a breakout room on Zoom with a small group of students to work on mathematic equations, said Zachary. “I was motivated to join the program because I wanted to support younger people and it was something I hadn’t done before. I’ve really enjoyed learning about other students’ cultures which range from all over the world.”
As a part of the program, Year 12 student, Maddison Sydes-Jones, assisted students in reading, writing poems and solving mathematic problems, with a goal to focus on each individual students’ needs in a fun learning environment.
“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to experience a high-quality education, so I wanted to give back to those who have limited access to developing their foundational skills,” said Maddison. “While volunteering, I felt that I could help students in a multifaceted way, aiding them to become more confident in their abilities and provide a safe space for them to be themselves. It’s incredibly rewarding to hear how excited the students are to learn, even after school hours.”
Clarendon are proud of its students who continue to strive to help and better the lives of others. For Sarah, Amyra, Zachary and Maddison, their involvement with the BRMC will be an experience that influences their future interactions and desire to continue to support those in their communities.