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Unsung Heroes: Our Remarkable Volunteers

 

Meet the dynamic husband & wife duo, David and Sandra Briggs – the powerhouses of Alamein Neighbourhood and Learning!

These two are the heart and soul of our volunteer community, engaging with participants and others in a polite, friendly and respectful manner. David kicked off his journey with us at the Alamein Men's Shed in 2021, but that was just the beginning. He swiftly jumped into various roles, from nurturing our community garden to handing out bread and being the life of our events and BBQs. Lifelong learning is his motto, as he dives into exercise, carpentry, digital literacy, and thought-provoking discussions.

 

Inspired by David, Sandra stepped up and joined Alamein with a bang! She dove into fitness and digital literacy courses and took charge of various administrative tasks, all while keeping the center spick and span.

 

These two don't shy away from any task, no matter how sudden – recently they played a pivotal role in delivering the quarterly course guide to a significant portion of the local area. Their kindness and inclusivity are their superpowers, making everyone feel at home and eager to explore our offerings.

 

But that's not all – their active presence on social media and David gracing our course guide cover show that they're the heartbeat of the Alamein Neighbourhood and Learning community.

 

Mandarin to English - Confidence blooms at Trentwood Community House

For Mandarin-speaking people coming to Australia, the language barrier is one of their biggest challenges. Trentwood Community House’s basic English conversation class Confidence Blossoms Life, led by Cynthia Chen, allows students to become more confident in everyday living.

 

Cynthia discovered a need for such a class when she realised that there are many Mandarin-speaking seniors with very little English. She saw her mum – a new visitor to Australia – losing confidence when out in the community. With the help of the community house staff, Cynthia became a volunteer, and soon had the class up and running.

 

The class gives students a basic knowledge of English. They practice real world scenarios that allow them to become more independent, and they can bring in any questions that arise during the week.

 

Cynthia explains that “some want to talk with English-speaking people more easily, (while others) want to be happy and rebuild their confidence”. She goes on to say that participants “learn how to take public transport and shop by themselves, (and) many look after their grandchildren and want to help them with their homework.”

 

Recently, the group put their skills to practical use when they visited a local café for lunch. The students ordered and paid themselves, with Cynthia on hand for assistance and encouragement. One participant remarked “this arrangement is so good, it makes me remember the words and sentences even better”.

 

It is not just the students that gain something from the class with Cynthia saying “I am so happy to see their faces turn from nerves to smiles when they greet me in English. I’m privileged to help them with basic language skills and see them become independent”. The class has proven so popular that Trentwood has been able to employ Cynthia as a paid tutor, and Cynthia and her mum even featured on the front of an activity and course guide in 2023.

Neighbourhood House Week at Bennettswood Neighbourhood House

 

Bennettswood Neighbourhood House celebrated Neighbourhood House Week in May with a wide range of activities including hosting Ukulele and Gentle Exercises classes. Maggie from the Community Craft also knitted some lovely items that will be donated to those in need in our community.

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