National Volunteer Week 2022

16 May 2022

National Volunteer Week is an important time for us to celebrate the wonderful community of volunteers who donate their time, skills, and passion to help refugees and people seeking asylum. This year’s theme is Better Together which is so fitting as our volunteers really do make JRS Australia feel like a genuine community.

To begin National Volunteer Week, JRS Australia was able to host a celebratory lunch with our volunteers, our first in person gathering since the pandemic. Service delivery teams and our advocacy team were able to give thanks to the people who make our work possible. We were also fortunate to have Australian Provincial, Fr Quyen Vu SJ join our team and volunteers.

The last year has been a challenging time for JRS Australia and organisations across the sector. The need for our services continued to increase and as always, our volunteers stepped up to support the people we serve in new and creative ways. During the height of COVID-19 in 2021, volunteering shifted dramatically to adapt to the new restrictions because for the first time since the pandemic began, JRS Australia had to close the office and cease face-to-face services.

The pause in services had a silver lining for our volunteer team. The break from normal activities allowed us to explore new ways of working, develop new opportunities for our volunteers to support the JRS Australia team, and increase capacity across the organisation. Our amazing volunteers were willing and able to jump into action learning new skills. We worked with different teams across JRS Australia to develop remote volunteer opportunities to support our staff with their increased workload.

As restrictions eased, JRS Australia was able to slowly resume some of our face-to-face services and our volunteers were back on board assisting with food packing and deliveries. The team of nearly 300 volunteers donated 11,000 hours of accompaniment, service, and advocacy over the last year.

The work that JRS Australia does is in no way possible without the help of the individuals that so generously donate their time. To assisting with administrative and reception work to helping out at community events, our volunteers have been crucial in meeting increased demands and have made JRS Australia a stronger community together.

Long term volunteers of JRS Australia who have had to pause due to COVID-19 have been returning and have shifted seamlessly back into the team. It has been truly inspiring to see our community grow and continue to do their best in helping refugees and people seeking asylum thrive.

We’d like to extend our greatest thanks to our volunteers as we are so appreciative of their work, commitment, empathy, and generosity. We are better together!

Find out how you can volunteer with JRS Australia here.

FR Quyen Vu SJ, JRS Australia staff and volunteers celebrate National Volunteer Week 2022.