10 May 2017News
National Volunteer Week 2017 profile: Meet Al
Al Moroni loved volunteering at SSI’s Community Kitchen and at Walk Together.
“It’s probably the way I was raised, with my mum telling us we had to be good and help other people,” he said.
Al left Brazil in 2006, lived in New Zealand for a year, and then came to Australia looking for adventure. He says he couldn’t go home because he fell in love with this country.
“Australia helped me to grow up. Living on my own, I really found myself. I enjoy the democracy we have here and being able to discuss and talk about anything. I value that a lot,” he said.
Al’s first job in Sydney was putting up marquees for events. He then worked for a wholesale distributor. But he never had a passion for that work.
“Two years ago I decided to do something about it and got a diploma in community services, which I enjoyed very much,” he said. “I had to do a placement and wanted to do something with refugees and asylum seekers. A friend knew someone at SSI so I applied there and did my placement at SSI’s Ashfield office.
“I learned so much and it was wonderful. I really got to know SSI and what SSI stands for and I haven’t left since.”
Part of Al’s placement involved Community Kitchen. He liked it so much he continued doing volunteer work there when his placement finished.
“I also volunteered at Walk Together,” he said “I really came out of my shell with that experience because I was a team leader. It was a great experience.”
Al said he had missed volunteering at Community Kitchen since he started a full-time position with SSI’s Out of Home Care program.
“It was great,” he said. “It was an opportunity to be face-to-face with people from all walks of life and cooking for them. A big part of our socialising is related to food, sitting around and talking to people. We do a lot of things with food involved.”
Al said Community Kitchen provided an opportunity to talk to people when they were relaxed and having a good time.
“I had a great experience talking to refugees and people who have struggled a lot recently in their lives,” he said. “I felt very privileged to be able to do that and make a contribution — chopping and preparing food and organising games.
“I love volunteering. The best part about volunteering is that I feel I am giving something back to the community. I believe it is not all take.
“I think that when people are watching sport or having all that passion about some guys playing games — if they would volunteer and give that time to other people and use all that passion toward helping someone else that would be much more rewarding.”
Everything is going smoothly with his new job but Al still wants to volunteer.
“I used to volunteer in Brazil but it became a big thing for me here in Australia,” he said. “I don’t think I’m ever going to stop doing it.”
Want to make a difference in SSI’s efforts to support humanitarian entrants, refugees and people seeking asylum? SSI volunteers work in a range of roles that will suit a various interests, expertise and availabilities.