Volunteering to improve the lives of others comes as easy as 1, 2, 3 for local resident, Dung (pronounced Yung) Pham who migrated to Australia in 2019 to build a better life for her, her daughter Annie and her family.
These days, she enjoys volunteering alongside her daughter who is following in her footsteps.
Dung is focused on supporting vulnerable people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and different ages through projects and events that she co-ordinates or is affiliated with in Forest Lake and surrounding suburbs.
In this interview we discuss how those before her have inspired her to be kind gracefully, and the powerful impact this is having on people’s lives during these difficult times.
Her motto is “Be kind and be nice whenever possible”.
As a young mother, why is following in the footsteps of our elders important?
Being a younger person in the community, I believe I need to be a role model for the next generation as those before me.
I have been learning from older generations who devote their time and effort to supporting less fortunate people. I started by observing them, then joining in with them and now coordinate community projects.
This includes; English and computer classes, driving lessons, art classes for children after school hours, gaining qualification for employment in the aged care sector, and many other hands-on projects which respond to the needs of our clients residing in Darra, Inala, Richlands, Forest Lake and neighbouring suburbs.
I know how important it is to master the skills of having English as a second language. In Vietnam and here, it can mean better employment opportunities and ways of life. This is why I started volunteering at the Neighbourhood Centre as an assistant English teacher.
I have witnessed how sad, lonely, and isolated people of all ages and genders feel who can’t communicate verbally or write in English. This is very rewarding volunteer work. Thank you Lake News for letting me share how rewarding it is to help people find and have a voice!
Can you tell us more about your community projects?
I take my role helping people struggling with their lives either mentally, physically, or financially very seriously.
My goal every day is to change people’s lives in a positive direction. This can be sometimes in small ways, or sometimes dramatically alongside people I work or volunteer alongside.
One of the projects, in which we take great pride, was to offer a free aged care training course in cooperation with CEA (Career Employment Australia) to people under job seeker support from Centrelink.
We had 18 people who attended the first course and now 100% of them have a job. For all of them, the course was a milestone in their lives. They had never imagined that they successfully completed the course and then found employment as a support worker.
How are you inspiring the next generation of young women through your volunteer work?
I was proud that this year, like past years, my daughter Annie who is 7, accepted the role to MC’ the traditional fashion parade at the annual Moon Festival hosted by the Vietnamese Community in Australia – Qld Chapter in Inala.
Watching her on stage speaking both English and Vietnamese alongside her friends made me realise how proud I was of her for embracing her culture, volunteering me and our community, and showing the next generation that volunteering is a gift from our elders to the next generation.
As a mum and wife, who prides herself on helping others this was a truly memorable cultural night because I had my family volunteering alongside me all night doing what we do best – bringing joy to others.
Forest Lake readers are welcome to visit or call to make an appointment to learn more about volunteering at the centre or learn about the free projects on offer on 3375 5700 or 0419 844 665.
I would love to share my guiding thought with the Lake News readers, and in return I ask them to take a minute from their busy lives to write down what their guiding thought is too.
“When you believe you can, you can” is my guiding thought.
What is yours?