STEPHANIE PAPAZOGLOU, a Bachelor of Education student, volunteers at our Flemington Homework Club in every Wednesday evening. She chats to fellow volunteer RYAN FONG about helping students overcome any academic barriers they may encounter.
She assists young students ranging from primary school to VCE-level with finishing their homework and helps them overcome any academic barrier that they may encounter. These young students are usually from a diverse range of cultural background and have grown up in conditions tougher than many.
Can you describe your volunteer role with Flemington Homework Club?
At the Flemington Homework Club, as the youngest volunteer, I mainly assist primary school children with English and mathematics.
Through my interaction with the children, I’ve learnt so much about different cultures, from people with a diverse range of backgrounds. Perhaps it’s because of my young age, I’ve managed to build trust with the children.
I feel intrinsically motivated to be a Homework Club tutor whenever I see how much the children appreciate my contribution and treat me as a significant part of their lives.
Volunteering as a homework club tutor is definitely the “best decision I have made in my life”!
What motivated you to volunteer with Homework Club?
I’ve always been spiritually involved with the Catholic belief and wanted to do more for social justice. I spoke to a close friend of mine who was very involved with Jesuit Social Services and learnt about the organisation.
The social changes that Jesuit Social Services advocates for are really incredible – it tries to connect with people who require the most assistance within our society.
As a Homework Club tutor, I thought I could learn a lot from encountering different people, and contribute to social justice.
What’s been most memorable about volunteering with Homework Club?
Supporting a studious year-5 girl who was extremely nervous about a maths test. She was so terrified that she kept asking for help to prepare for the assessment. At the time, I decided to step up to comfort her and help her with her revision. The young girl eventually received 90% for that assessment and was over the moon.
A few weeks later, the young girl wrote me a thank you card to show appreciation for my assistance. While I was glad that my effort was thoroughly appreciated by her, I was also able to witness the life-changing moments of many children at the Homework Club.
What have you gained from volunteering as a Homework Club tutor at Jesuit Social Services?
I’ve found my passion in being a teacher, and I’ve developed valuable skills that will make me a better teacher in the future.
On the other hand, I’ve also developed a better outlook of like – I’ve become more open to others, more willing to listen to others, more patient, and want to be a selfless person.
Working with children who have tougher life experience than others has taught me to show more empathy to people around me.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering with Jesuit Social Services?
When you volunteer, it diverts you from your own world. As you connect with someone who is vulnerable in our society, the feeling is unimaginable. If you want to gain that feeling or purpose in life, volunteering with Jesuit Social Services is what you want to do.
Volunteering with Jesuit Social Services is definitely the best decision I’ve made in my life.
It’s the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself and it brings such a substantial impact to the community.
I want to continue to volunteer with Jesuit Social Services for years to come.