As Australians we have the potential to bring a special gift to a volunteer program because we are exposed to a diversity of values, languages, traditions and faiths. In entering the world of another we do not go without this gift and it is vital that we embrace it fully. Moreover, when we enter the world of another, we do so as invited guests and as we work to transfer skills and experience we are called to do so in tune with their pace and style. It is at this point, with good mentoring, you become a different Australian; a different global citizen.
Working and living in a Marist community abroad is a special experience and the learning is two ways. Immersing oneself in a rich, caring community can teach you more about yourself than you would think. Our volunteers don’t end their journey when they bid farewell to their adopted community. Many come back with a passion for international development, a passion for Marist, so they continue to involve themselves heavily in their local community. This is what volunteering is about. It plants something inside of you that never dies.
“We are all one family in the world. Building a community that empowers everyone to attain their full potential through each of us respecting each other’s dignity, rights and responsibilities makes the world a better place to live.”
Pope John Paul II
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis – ‘On Social Concern’ (1987)