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At Connecting Communities Australia (CCA), we endeavour to bring programs that give young people the chance to connect with rural communities through invaluable volunteering experiences. Our programs provide opportunities for the family; planning programs in school holidays where possible and providing safe and enjoyable volunteering work for young people to get their hands dirty and learn about life in the country.

Our recent bushfire recovery program on the South Coast of NSW was planned for the school holiday period where a group of young volunteers took part. They assisted with clearing vegetation, removing fencing and planting trees and have now formed CCA Youth.

A few of our youth group students have shared their CCA volunteering experience with us below.

On why they choose to volunteer..

“I volunteer because I like to do my bit to help other people where I can and because knowing that I can make a small difference to people’s lives is such an incredible thing.” – Jasmine Gibson, 16

“I’m an immigrant to Australia, and when I arrived, I was fortunate enough to have received support from so many volunteer organisations that look out for people from different backgrounds and communities. I volunteer to pay their efforts forward.” – Dylan Nguyen, 17

“I volunteer because it makes me feel happy as I am making a difference and hopefully making other people happy. Volunteering and helping people and the environment give you a greater sense of purpose and helps you understand the world a bit more.” – Hannah Pepper, 16

About their experience volunteering…

“The CCA Youth team is one of the most enthusiastic and engaged groups of people that I’ve ever met. Even though I am fairly new to the group, they’ve been very welcoming.” – Dylan Nguyen, 17

“While volunteering, I’ve met amazing people who have had some struggles, and amazing people who enjoy helping others.” – Ava Robinson, 13

“While I was volunteering in Bega Valley, we met a couple whose house was burnt down in the fires. They told us the story of a massive fireball that crashed into their house and exploded the house. They told us how nearly all of their belongings were burnt and how they struggled with the restoration of their new house. This story particularly stands out to me because although they lost so much, they were still cheerful and laughing and joking around while working with us.” – Hannah Pepper, 16

“When I went to Goodooga, [on] arriving, I was surprised how different it was to Sydney; it was basically a couple of streets and it was in complete isolation.” – Ava Robinson, 13

These experiences support young people’s learning and provide an invaluable opportunity for reconciliation between cultures and communities.

CCA Youth group are also assisting with fundraising for the upcoming ‘Schools Walking Together’ program in June and November. This program focuses on connecting students from isolated communities with city school students, through shared experiences and learning. The program is in two parts: a multi-day excursion to Sydney for a rural school, and a reciprocal visit to a rural school for Sydney students. We look forward to sharing more details on this exciting program coming up.

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