Helping young people flourish in Australia

It is through programs like ENVISION that give young people, like Frances Connison, a chance to flourish in Australia. Born in war-torn Sierra Leone, Frances and her family spent years at a refugee camp in Ghana before migrating to Australia. Although Frances has been able to  adapt to her new life in Australia, it was not without its difficulties. 

“When I arrived in Australia I struggled in school, my English language skills were limited, I was bullied and teased for being African. I also struggled to balance my culture, family responsibilities and expectations and a new culture.” Frances describes. 

Frances Connison, ENVISION volunteer

Frances has been a volunteer Peer Facilitator with CMY since March 2021, sharing her settlement experiences with other newly-arrived young people like her. With CMY’s laser sharp focus on young people who recently arrived as migrants and refugees, this was the perfect step for Frances to help people who have arrived to adapt to their new lives and flourish.  

“I was drawn particularly to CMY, because they’re more focused on newly-arrived young people, and that was where I wanted my career to lead to.” 

To Frances, being a facilitator is very fun – especially when it comes to meeting the young people that are part of the ENVISION program, and empowering them to being their best selves. Frances is also aware of the need for a space where CALD people can feel safe and where there is no judgement, aspects that Envision embodies with each meeting they have. 

Being a migrant herself, Frances understands the importance of programs such as Envision. She understands why young people who are migrants or refugees need the extra support – especially because it can be difficult to adapt to a new culture. Having that extra support and guidance from the right people can go a long way in helping CALD young people in adapting to a new environment and being able to thrive and showcase their talents as they start their new lives. 

Frances did leave one little piece of advice to those who are still unsure of being part of the ENVISION program:  

‘I would say give it a go, it’s very rewarding in the sense that you get a lot out of it. If you’re a newly arrived young person, you will make friends, you will get to practice your English, you’ll also get to share your goals and things you’re working towards, and you might also find new interests during these sessions. The volunteers help you whether its support you need, our Project Officers literally work to link the young person with the service and support they need – Envision helps them with all of that, so it’s a really great opportunity for newly arrived young people to join, and it helps knowing that you’re supported by people who genuinely care for you and really want the best for you. It also allows you to gain a leadership role in both your personal and social life.’ 

Find out more about ENVISION or apply to become a volunteer Peer Facilitator.