Supporting Pitney Bowes volunteers, Belong Community Centre and Refugees to build a stronger community, together.

One of the key ways we create impact at the community level is by connecting caring companies with local organisations doing great work to share their business skills and expertise. In Acacia Ridge, Queensland, one such partnership is not only helping to provide vulnerable community members with the employment skills, confidence and support needed to find work, but contributing to a cycle of positive community change.

At the Belong community centre, staff and volunteers share the belief that communities are strengthened when their most vulnerable members are supported and included in all aspects of life. To this end, they run classes and workshops for community members who may be facing unemployment, marginalisation or isolation, many of whom are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including refugees. These participants want nothing more than to fully engage and find work in their community, and are actively seeking to increase their English language and communication skills to help them do so. Still, the prospect of facing any job interview can be daunting, let alone when it’s in another language and in a foreign environment.

That’s why the time, patience and encouragement provided by the volunteers from United Way partner Pitney Bowes has been so invaluable. Running workshops to help community members become familiar with Australian work environments through mock interviews, to working one-on-one with participants to expand their employment skills and CVs, the difference they have made is nothing short of transformational. As one participant told us:

“It was a wonderful experience, and great help to support us in our resume writing and interview skills. We all benefited greatly, words can’t express our gratitude.”

And the really excellent news? The program is working, with numerous participants now demonstrating the skills and confidence to find meaningful work in their local community.

I am very blessed to be able to participate in the Education Support training – it has opened up a lot of opportunities for me…

One such participant is Winne, who took part in the joint Belong/Pitney Bowes Education Support Training workshop earlier this year. Since spending time with Pitney Bowes volunteers, Winnie has been successful in applying for a role as the resident Artist at her local Early Learning Centre, where she now teaches art to 3-5 year olds. She says of her experience:

“Thank you for your ongoing support and training. I am very blessed to be able to participate in the Education Support training – it has opened up a lot of opportunities for me.”

Other participants from the training have also gone on to find work as Teacher’s Aides and support workers, or have found school placements to further increase their skills. But perhaps of greatest significance is the lesson being learned through the simple act of volunteering for the common community good, as one participant explained:

“I personally learned a lot from today’s session, especially the great example of helping others to succeed and achieve their personal goals. I hope one day, I could be like you guys (Pitney Bowes volunteers) too.”

To find out how your company can join us in building stronger communities together, please contact our Partnership Coordinator, Bethany Smith.


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