Good food, great company & wonderful conversation!

This year the social dinner was held at Mu’ooz restaurant in West End. It was attended by many and turned out to be a terrific evening. Not only was the food exceptional, but the company and live performances were also pretty spectacular. Everyone had the opportunity to meet new people and share stories and experiences from their tutor families.

Some of the happy snaps from the night are now up on our Facebook page. Thank you everyone who came and we can’t wait for the End-of-Year BBQ to really wrap up a wonderful year.

Australian Catholic University visit

Earlier this month VoRTCS was invited along to the Australian Catholic University (ACU) and presented to students in their Sociology of Poverty course. We were privileged to speak about the work our volunteers are doing in the community, share our experiences in assisting refugee families with English and Social skills as well as discussing the many factors and forms in which poverty appears (including language, education, material possessions, assimilation and culture, occupation, income, work rights, homelessness, disability, mental health, age, etc.).

The compassion shown by all the students and their lecturer was inspirational as well as their determination to help change the future for the better of all. Thank you for the honour and opportunity to meet so many amazing young change-makers and sharing ideas of how we can do better not only as individuals but also as a community and nation.

A Great Day Out at the Griffith University Volunteer Experience Fair!

Enthusiastic students showing what it means to want to give back to the community

This month VoRTCS and Youth attended the Volunteer Experience Fair at Griffith University’s Nathan Campus.

It was very inspirational speaking with all the students and teachers who attend Griffith and hearing about their passion and commitment to serve the local community. Over 60 people registered their interest to join the VoRTCS and Youth programs, hoping that they can help someone in need and make a difference to their lives.

We’re very excited to have many of these students and teachers join our VoRTCS Community and complete their tutor training over the next month. It is only through the energy, compassion and generosity of our volunteers that we can continue to welcome and support many of the recently settled refugee families in Brisbane.

Kids Camp Reflection

How do you measure success at a Kids Camp?
Tired Adults!!

The Vinnies Kids Camp for 2015 was held at Coolum Beach over the weekend of July 10th-12th.

On Friday, all of the campers arrived in time for lunch. The rain didn’t hold out for the first afternoon but nothing could dampen the spirits of the 80+ excited campers (44 children attended). Once the rain lifted, a game of Gold Rush set the kids into a frenzy. (See right for photo of kids hunting for gold!)

Saturday was a day of blue skies and filled with fun activities. These included low ropes, treasure hunts, arts & crafts, field activities and planning for the famous talent show. All teams prepared a performance to show that evening. There were many laughs and bright colours, loud music and some outstanding solos. Safe to say, the campers were pretty tired when it came time to go to bed.

Sunday morning it was time to pack up the rooms. Another game of Gold Rush was a must since it was so popular on Friday. The rest of the morning was spent playing cricket, soccer, footy and Red Rover.

When it came time to leave, most campers wanted to stay. Everyone said goodbye and another successful Kids Camp was over.

Some of the comments made included; “This was the best part of my holiday”, “I have something to talk about at school tomorrow now”, “I never want to leave”, “I’m coming back next year”.

A massive ‘THANK YOU’ to all of the volunteers who made the weekend a huge success. This simply would not have been possible without you!

Congratulations Rachael – Young Philanthropist of the Year 2015

Our very own SUPERSTAR!

It has been a particularly exciting month and one full of emotion as we congratulate our Vice President, Rachael Taylor, who won Queensland Community Foundation’s Young Philanthropist of the Year Award for 2015.

Rachael has been vital to the growth and success of the VoRTCS program, joining as a volunteer tutor in 2008. Over the past 7 years, Rachael has led the way as our tutor trainer, training team leader, tutor mentor and our Committee Vice President. This is not to mention the long list of other organisations Rachael volunteers her time to as well!

We are very happy that Rachael’s fantastic contribution to the settling and supporting of hundreds of refugee families has been recognised and celebrated. Congratulations Rachael!

LUMINOUS Lantern Parade – What a night!

It was a dazzling beginning of June for VoRTCS as we joined the wider St Vincent de Paul Society team in the Luminous Lantern Parade, held in South Bank Parklands. We were delighted to see thousands of Queenslanders come from all walks of life to welcome new arrivals to Queensland. The parade was a captivating display. Lanterns took on the form of native and exotic animals, otherworldly shapes and childhood characters.
VoRTCS proudly carried two lantern characters: Dirtgirl and Scrapboy. It was exciting to see the faces of refugees also light up. The night ended on a high note at the Courier-Mail Piazza for concert filled with world music and dance.

Introducing our 2015 VoRTCS Committee Members and Training team

New Committee Members – include Tina Kelsey, Zoe Wood and Rachel Langford.
They will be assisting with program communications as well as community and volunteer engagement.
Continuing Committee Members – Marion McMahon (Chairperson), Sally Stubbington (VP and Tutor Mentor), Lauren Barea (Secretary), Kathleen Ferrero (Treasurer), Peter Richards John Campbell and June Chandler (Vincentian Representatives)
New Trainers – include Tina Kelsey, Wei Shih and Madeline Wild
Continuing Trainers – Marion McMahon, Katherine Hanna, Mike Bartlett, Don McIvor, Rachel Langford, Kelly Lawson, Zoe Wood and Joanne Zhou
VoRTCS Staff – Bianca Nisbet (Program Coordinator)

National Volunteer Week: 11th – 15th May

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give!” – Winston Churchill
VoRTCS would not be the organisation it is today without all of the marvelous work that you all, as volunteers contribute on a daily basis. 
You are making such a positive change within the community and you are changing people’s lives for the better. This is something to be incredibly proud of. 
We cannot thank you enough, each and every individual volunteer, for the hours that you dedicate to making other people’s lives better. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!!! 
Love the VoRTCS Committee

Multicultural Community Picnic

What an amazing day

Our first community picnic was a huge success. We would love to thank the Daisy Hill Conference, St Edward’s School, all the volunteers, families and community members who attended on the day. 
Lots of fun was had by all. We played soccer, cricket, had fun with face painting and some colouring in. We has a donation of 40 giant chocolate Easter bunnies for the kids and ‘big kids’ to enjoy. It was wonderful to see all of those there connecting and conversing with each other. 
We can’t wait for the next one! 

Graduating Family

What an achievement!

The Rajendran Family has recently graduated from the VoRTCS program.

Throughout their time with VoRTCS they have had support with their language skills, speaking and writing and as a result, have become more confident in their abilities. They have been assisted with writing job applications, resumes and cover letters.

At times they have needed help making purchases or catching public transport and we can proudly say that the volunteers Jason, Lana, Matthew and later Alice and Kate, were all there to provide this vital support.

Some of the families’ most outstanding achievements include obtaining full time work, receiving an OP3 after graduating year 12, receiving various high school awards etc. The children have future ambitions to study Medicine at university, win more high school awards and to be more confident.

The family and the tutors have both strived to achieve these great results and we are very proud of all the effort they have put in.