HEATHER Blore’s firsthand experience of being an outsider in a foreign country made it easy to decide to volunteer her time as a migrant mentor.
“I’ve been in countries in the world where I didn’t speak the language,” she said.
“I wanted to help people.
“I found myself in Paris years ago and I only had schoolgirl French and I found it really isolating.”
Mrs Blore is part of the latest cohort of 13 mentors in the Mentoring Connections program who are paired with migrants to help them with the basics needed to fit in with the community.
Mrs Blore said her work mentoring those with little experience of Australian culture had enriched her life.
“Generally I like to help my community,” she said.
“I’ve got a pretty cushy life. For me it’s about having human being to human being contact.
“I live on my own in Orange I don’t have a lot of social contact so it’s of benefit for me.”
Mrs Blore has been paired with Thanyalak Elkington who migrated to Orange from Thailand four years ago with her husband and three-year-old daughter.
Mrs Blore hopes to assist the family with English skills as well as other everyday tasks that any Australians take for granted.
“I can do informal reinforcement of their language teaching at TAFE, help understand government departments, going shopping and appointments with medical services, preschools and schools,” she said.
Mrs Elkington has been involved in the program since last year.
“The language makes it difficult to get out from home,” she said.
“I can’t talk with other people.”
Mentoring Connections coordinator Carmel Dunn said the volunteers committed to the program for 12 months and were supported with training.
While the program is currently well-served by mentors people interested in signing up are more than welcome.