MARANGAROO resident Jenny Vo recently volunteered with the Red Cross as part of a McCusker Centre for Citizenship program at UWA.
Miss Vo, who is also studying public health, spent three months working with the charity’s community development team helping to bridge the gap between migrants and the wider community.
She said she was already interested in working in the infectious diseases field and with the people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
“I put Red Cross as a preference because it’s an international organisation,” she said.
Miss Vo said she enjoyed working in the migrant support program, which provides support services to “bridge the gap between the wider community and refugee community”.
“We give them a space to come together and feel a little bit more included in society,” she said.
The student said they also visited schools through the program to talk to children about migrants and refugees.
“It was great to be able to head into the schools and see what children thought,” she said.
“We were there to inform them and spread awareness.”
Both her parents are Vietnamese and came to Australia in the 1990s, settling in Girrawheen.
“I heard lots of stories about what it was like, how hard it was to settle and also how grateful they were to be here,” Miss Vo said.
“It is really rewarding to be able to give back to the community.”
Miss Vo said her ultimate goal was to work as an epidemiologist, ideally with the World Health Organisation.
More than 200 not-for-profit organisations have partnered with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship to offer internships of at least 100 hours of work encompassing a diversity of skills and opportunities.
Director Michelle Scott said the positive response to the internships was proof of a genuine appetite for direct contributions among both students and not-for-profit organisations.
“The idea is to place students frontline, working on social challenges such as homelessness, mental health, disadvantage and advocacy in all forms, providing them with greater insight and not-for-profit organisations with new skills and viewpoints,” she said.
“Young people do want to step forward to help tackle complex social issues.
“These internships, spread across the community, help make that possible.”