Meet our Volunteer Elmo

Elmo is one of Ardoch’s amazing volunteers and has been with us for over a year. He is retired, but previously worked with migrants and refugees for 25 years. 
Elmo volunteers in Melbourne’s West, as one of our Education Volunteers. Every week for two hours, Elmo assists teachers in the classrooms, providing extra support to children in either small groups or one-on-one. The aim is to engage the children in targeted reading, writing and language exercises to improve their confidence, engagement and interactions with literacy. 
What were your reasons for originally volunteering with us?
“I was retired, and I’d done some volunteer work previously, but I wanted to work with children in my local community. I liked the programs at Ardoch and what it offers and many of the children in our school, given their background as newly arrived migrants or refugees, face major barriers to education. I believe my experience in settlement can be of use in this area”.
What difference do you see in the kids?
“I see a difference, particularly once they trust you, it’s very nice. They come and ask you for help and it is nice when they look on you as a friend. They teach me a lot about contemporary things, like the way they look at things is so fresh.  As adults we have so much going on, whereas kids look at everything with such fresh eyes. For me it is a learning process and a very rewarding experience. I like reading with the children, it’s very rewarding to get them to feel the story instead of just reading it, so that they get into the spirit of it”.
What do you have to say to others who are thinking of volunteering with Ardoch?
“I would tell them without any hesitation to get involved because it’s such a rewarding thing to do, and the children look at you as a friend. I’ve worked with children and young people before and it’s always been a good experience. The schools and teachers do such a great job, but they just need some extra support and they’ve been so welcoming.  This has greatly encouraged me in my volunteering work”. 
If you would like to learn more about becoming an Education Volunteer, follow the link HERE