Reledev’s DREAM Project is all about reaching out to young students of refugee backgrounds who have settled in Australia. The challenge of settling in a new country is enormous: foreign language, foreign culture, foreign way of doing ordinary things like going to school, taking public transport, finding friends. DREAM was established to provide peer to peer mentoring for young refugee students in Australia, with the goal of empowering them as future leaders in Australian society.
We caught up with previous Manager of Reledev and DREAM volunteer Saidee Talty. Saidee left a long lasting legacy at Reledev and was instrumental in the growth of DREAM especially in it’s early years as she discovered DREAM through meeting Agnes Barnard, the Founder of DREAM.
The DREAM Project is very enriching. You meet volunteers, refugee students, school officials and various community organisations. You learn about yourself and others while developing friendships and a legacy – Saidee Talty, DREAM volunteer
Professionally, on top of her previous development role at Reledev, Saidee has an economics and finance background, worked for the Department of Defence Australia, ATO and in HR. She is now working for the government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme. Within DREAM Project, Saidee worked closely with high school students in Western Sydney and established partnerships with schools to forge DREAM. She shares with us what motivated her to work so closely with refugee students and encourages others to get involved in the program.
How did you hear/get involved with DREAM Project? I discovered the DREAM Project through one of the Founders of DREAM, Agnes Barnard. It was then that I was able to attend a Leadership Training session for DREAM and got involved. In 2016, I was appointed Manager of Reledev and worked there for 2.5 years.
What motivated you to volunteer? I’m passionate about wanting to make a difference in the lives of others.
Tell us a little bit about your role within the DREAM Project. I was originally involved as a volunteer, as I had attended a Leadership Training session for DREAM. I then moved on to work for Reledev, the non-profit that manages the DREAM Project and from there I was able to work as Manager for the DREAM Project.
What have been some highlights of being a volunteer for the DREAM Project? Two biggest highlights with my involvement in DREAM Project would be 1) Visiting schools in Western Sydney and asking them to partner with Reledev to join the DREAM Project and 2) Providing a work skills workshop at Fairfield High School.
What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering for DREAM? One of the greatest things about becoming a volunteer is being able to surround yourself with people who want to learn.
Describe the time commitment to volunteer. How do you find a balance with work? My piece of advice in order to balance work and study with the commitment to volunteer is to prioritise and manage your time well.
What have you learned about yourself and others since joining DREAM? One of the greatest things I have learned since joining DREAM Project would be understanding more about the refugee crisis and learning the personal stories from refugees.
Tell us a bit about some of the experiences mentoring refugee students. As DREAM volunteers, we need to be creative about how we communicate to some refugee audiences because they are also learning English.
Last thoughts on DREAM. The DREAM Project is very enriching. You meet volunteers, refugee students, school officials and various community organisations. You learn about yourself and others while developing friendships and a legacy.
Would you like to volunteer for the DREAM Project? We are accepting applications now. Please fill out an online form to register your interest. https://reledev.org.au/volunteers/