Alex LewGor presents Monica Li with her certificate

Alex LewGor presents Monica Li with her certificate

A gift of $4,000 from The Tindall Foundation via our local Funding Manager, the Geyser Foundation, has enabled the Rotorua Multicultural Council to run a series of workshops over 10 weeks to introduce migrants to the benefits and satisfaction that can be gained from volunteering.

The workshops were organised and run by Alexis LewGor, President of the Rotorua Multicultural Council. Fourteen migrants completed the programme which involved visits to a wide range of organisations, including The Red Cross, Asthma NZ, Citizens Advice Bureau, St Chad’s, Salvation Army and Rotorua Arts Village. Attendees heard presentations about volunteering and were introduced to the vital role that volunteers play in the local community. The workshop participants put what they learnt into practice by volunteering at a range of different events and for different organisations such as, GLOBALfest – Rotorua’s celebration of cultural diversity and the Red Cross street collection. Two signed up to train as volunteers at the Citizens Advice Bureau; six registered to volunteer at large events in Rotorua and two participants from Thailand are teaching their language to others.

Monica Li from China provides an example of the impact that this Geyser-funded project has had on her life. She was very shy when she joined the first workshop but then volunteered at GLOBALfest. An opportunity to work for a few hours in a take-away business came up and she took that while continuing to attend the volunteering workshops. Since completing the workshops, she has bought a small fish and chips business of her own in Owhata.

Alexis LewGor has encouraged and supported her through these steps in her settlement in Rotorua. “I am so happy for Monica. She has blossomed tremendously from the newcomer I saw a year ago. She has now asked for help on how to make good Kiwi burgers, and I will be helping her with that too.” Monica said everything she had learnt during the volunteering workshops gave her more confidence in her customer service skills. “It equipped me to make the decision to go into business on my own and to ask for support when I need it.”

Others who attended the volunteering workshops had these things to say about the benefit of taking part: “Volunteering is good for me, it gets me out of the house to go and help those in need.” “I will spend my time and my experience in the future to help people.” “The world will be a better place if we learn to give rather than to receive.”

Geyser Trustees recently approved gifts totaling more than $40,000 to 21 charitable organisations in the Rotorua and Taupo district communities.