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Pat’s Story – MPower Mentor Volunteer

“Volunteering will change you for the better.
You will grow as a person and you will find purpose as well.”

Pat volunteer’s for MPower, Mercy Work’s transformative mentorship program for young Sudanese men and women, forging pathways to tertiary education and meaningful employment. Pat mentors a university student whose family immigrated to Australia as refugees from Sudan.

“I moved to Australia from the USA over 35 years ago. My wife and I raised three daughters all now in their 20’s. For the past two decades I have volunteered, mainly coaching kid’s basketball and teaching kindness at public schools.”


How did you first get involved with MPower?

Two years ago, I met Sr Maria Sullivan [a Sister of St Joseph who started MPower in 2017]. She is a real dynamo, a unique individual. I attended a presentation by her to Sudanese students and parents living in Western Sydney. She told the students how they need to acquire skills. They need to go to either TAFE or university. They can’t just be factory workers because AI and robots will replace those jobs in ten years.

Just hearing her speak was so motivating and got me involved in MPower.

Can you share some of your experiences as a volunteer mentor?

I met with Raul [Pat’s assigned mentee] and he seemed keen and interested. He is at university studying film and communication. He wants to get into movies, and I don’t have any experience in the movie or filmmaking world. He is incredibly passionate about it. I said, you know, if that’s your dream follow your dream. Don’t give up on it.

So, what we did was I went through my LinkedIn contacts looking for people I know in the movie space. We met for coffee with someone from Channel 9 who owns a media company.

Raul asked, “what are we going to talk about?” I said, I’ve got no idea. We will just meet and have a coffee with that person and the conversation will develop. Just tell him your story. Say you are looking to get into the film world. You are looking for contacts and people that can help you and that’s why I’m sitting here with you now. Just see what the person says.

Inevitably a person tries to help you out. One hundred percent! Every single person we’ve had a coffee with they have tried to help Raul. They say, well I can do this or that for you and they follow through.

We met another guy here in Sydney who is a filmmaker. Raul started working for him on his movie for about six weeks. Raul was a roustabout. If someone needed a coffee, he got a coffee. He was on the set working with the actors and everyone.

What do you enjoy about being a volunteer mentor?

I get a lot of fulfilment from helping Rual. His first day working on a movie. Getting his first paycheck from the movie. It’s very rewarding to see someone else’s success.  Just like your own kid. You love seeing anyone succeed but it’s even more pleasurable to think that you may have played a small role in helping them get there.”



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