22 July 2022
University lecturer helps newly-arrived young people in his free time with Ucan2
Hossein Shokouhi is a university lecturer and a dedicated volunteer for Ucan2, a program run in partnership with CMY and Foundation House. The Ucan2 program supports young people aged 16 to 25, who are newly-arrived to Australia and from a refugee or migrant background.
CMY works closely with passionate volunteers like Hossein, who encourage and support young people through group activities in an educational setting. Volunteers share their work, study, and life experiences in Australia, act as positive role models, help young people practice English, and help foster young people’s confidence to make social connections and develop their skills.
Hossein was interested in volunteering in his free time, and since starting with the Ucan2 program a few months ago, he has found it really beneficial to newly-arrived young people from diverse backgrounds.
“The Ucan2 program is great in many ways – getting to know wonderful people dedicated to humanitarian work, learning from people you work with and hearing about aspirations of young refugees [and migrants], and how we can help them climb up the ladder of success.”
Ucan2 runs one day a week for six months at multiple education sites across Melbourne, on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday afternoon. Volunteers attend their allocated site on the same day of the week, for approximately for 2.5 hours and are recruited before each school semester.
Sarah Ramirez, a Youth Support Team Leader for CMY, says, “Ucan2 volunteers develop a greater understanding of different cultures and increase their skills in cross-cultural communication, expand their networks, and get satisfaction from giving back to the community.”
As an experienced Ucan2 volunteer, Hossein says he allocates time to his studies, teaching, research, family, and one day of the week is set aside for volunteering with Ucan2.
Hossein’s advice for new volunteers is to be prepared to learn more about different cultural traditions and norms. He also thinks new volunteers will find great value in the program after they get familiar with their role within the program, and through their weekly interactions with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds who are settling in Australia.
Ucan2 is a program run in partnership between the Centre for Multicultural Youth and Foundation House, and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs.