During Volunteer Week, on May 12, SSI held a lunch to celebrate and express its huge gratitude to the wonderful volunteers who help the organisation support its clients every day.
SSI has about 170 volunteers who have provided a great range of support.
Some of SSI's valued volunteers.
SSI Volunteers have provided social support to refugees and asylum seekers; helped at fortnightly Community Kitchen; assisted at Playtime multicultural playgroups for mothers and children; participated in sporting activities with new arrivals, and linked asylum seekers to community groups to help ease their isolation.
About 75 per cent of SSI volunteers arrived in Australia as migrants, and many came from refugee backgrounds themselves.
SSI Board Member Om Dhungel, who was a recipient of the National Volunteer Award in 2012, spoke to guests about the big difference volunteers make in the lives of the people SSI supports.
"Volunteers do not go without pay because they are worthless, but because they are priceless," he said.
Mr Dhungel also talked about his own experiences as a refugee who fled Bhutan before handing out certificates to volunteers.
SSI Social Support Volunteer Jennifer Whye spoke to the audience about how rewarding the experience of assisting Tibetan refugee clients had been for her, and about the rich cultural exchange that can occur from working with people settling in Australia from around the world.
“The theme of this year’s National Volunteer Week was ‘Give Happy, Live Happy’, and that’s because volunteering really does make people happier,” SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said.
“The work that volunteers do for our refugee and asylum seeker clients gives them happiness. That is clear from sentiments I’ve heard from our clients. And research shows that acts of volunteering also make volunteers happier.”