A refugee youth volunteering program

The REvitalise project aimed to improve the employability and community connectedness of young people from refugee backgrounds, living in the Blacktown and Mount Druitt area. This was achieved through the provision of volunteering and training opportunities that support skill development, provide real workplace experience, whilst also developing participants’ understanding of Australian workplace culture. The program also provided young migrants and refugee opportunities for social and civic engagement. Key learnings from the project suggest that volunteer opportunities for young people must recognise the reciprocal nature of the volunteering relationship. To that end, frameworks for participation are very important, but that flexibility must compliment the system’s structure. This means that young people need to be accommodated as they are, not as individual perceptions presume they should be. It is also important to recognise that there were issues relating to the programs capacity to accommodate the number of interested applicants, overall the program was deemed to be highly successful in providing workplace experience and encouraging individual participation.


This program targeted young women between 14-16 living in Mount Druitt and surrounding suburbs who were experiencing family breakdown, had exhibited anti-social behaviour or were at risk of being engaged by the juvenile justice system. Participants were identified through MECA’s partnerships with local schools and community groups. Eduction and mentoring were provided to these young women that focused on the development of social and emotional literacy by enhancing the key social and emotional skills of these young women ‘at-risk’.

The participant’s program ran for the duration of nine weeks, with one topic covered each week. There were also follow up and reinforcement sessions held the in the term following the completion of the program. The program followed the schedule outlined below:

  • Positive thinking and strengths
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Resilience and assertiveness
  • Effective communication and active listening
  • Conflict resolution and solution focused thinking
  • Positive power in relationships
  • Relaxation and stress management
  • Goal setting and career paths
  • Wrap up, review and celebration of completion

Circle Humanity.