Backstage with our RMCC mentors

“My favourite thing about mentoring is that I am able to assist children who are currently experiencing similar marginalisation, financial hardship and social barriers that I faced when I was young. It is truly gratifying to know that as a mentor, I have the potential to not only nurture these children and see them flourish, but to also positively change a social problem”.

These are the words of Tony — a RMCC mentor and friend who’s been a familiar face in one of our programs for the past 7 months.

At RMCC, it’s safe to say we’d be lost without our incredible, generous mentors, who donate their spare time and energy to stand by our goal of ensuring no refugee or migrant child slips through the cracks.

They do this by guiding and supporting their mentees in developing knowledge, skills and confidence that will allow them to fully engage in their education and feel a greater part of their community.

To date, we have successfully supported 650 children through our range of programs, which includes Sidekicks Junior and Sidekicks Senior, Family Learning Clubs, school holiday programs and life skill workshops.

And we don’t plan on stopping here. In fact, our 2020 goal is to support 2,000 kids, which is equivalent to the number of refugee and migrant children who resettle in Victoria every single year.

Why is mentoring so important?

Studies have shown that disadvantaged kids who have a mentor are 130% more likely to hold a leadership position in a club, school council or sports team, and 81% more likely to participate in sports or extracurricular activities.

Not only this, but children who regularly meet with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school, 37% less likely to skip a class and 55% more likely to enrol in university.

So, what is it like to become a RMCC mentor?

Mentoring at RMCC is so much more than just helping out with homework and teaching new skills. It’s about bonding long-term friendships and providing a stable form of support that kids can wholeheartedly rely on — something that is really important in this time of uncertainty and change.

Here’s RMCC mentor, Seraphina, to tell you about her experience:

“It is amazing to see the progress of kids from when I started in February until now! I’ve assisted a number of children with their reading and writing and seen their confidence grow with each session, as well as their enthusiasm and willingness to engage with the different mentors and other children. It’s been a great experience”.

Ready to make a difference?

Check out Tony’s advice to anyone who wants to become part of the RMCC family:

“From personal experience, the best advice I can give to any future mentor is to come into the room with two things: a receptive heart and a set of ears. Why? Because mentoring is a ‘two-way street’ and it is those two things that make the children feel respected and appreciated”.

Click here to read more about why we do what we do, or check out our volunteer page to see how you can get involved.

You can also make a tax-deductible donation by clicking here.

Meet Our New Chair

We’re excited to announce and welcome RMCC’s new Chair, Richard King!

Richard is a Managing Partner at GRA Cosway where he is a senior client lead, presenter, and public affairs consultant. Richard’s area of expertise is in the political advisory and government relations sector, and his breadth of experience also encompasses working formally as a Director for the Government Relations Australia Advisory.  Richard also currently serves as a Board Member for Screen Australia. He is passionate about arts and culture, economic empowerment, and human rights.

We’ve asked Richard a few questions so the RMCC community
can get to know him better…


Why is the mission of RMCC important?


The RMCC empowers refugee and migrant children and youth who now call Australia home to create their own opportunities.  This mission is important because refugee and migrant children face additional challenges to those of Australian born families.  These challenges can be linguistic, cultural or emotional in nature and can make it difficult for children to navigate their new environment.

Migration is a vital part of Australia’s cultural fabric.  Migration has contributed positively to our economy and way of life.  Equally, the RMCC’s mission is to support and empower our most important resource – our children.  These children will be our next generation of leaders, and by helping to facilitate their empowerment, the RMCC is benefiting all Australians.


What do you think makes RMCC different from other organisations in the space?


The use of mentoring by RMCC as its key engagement tool has enabled the organisation to tailor its approach to the needs of each child.  No two children share the same experience.  The RMCC programme ensures that it is flexible enough to be meaningful to all.

The RMCC approach is to focus on education, identity and belonging, life skills, and mental health and wellbeing, and to provide practical ways for children to overcome the most pressing challenges they face. This is not the cookie cutter approach that many of the larger settlement agencies need to apply.  It ensures that the most the critical needs of the individual child are always addressed through the programme.

RMCC’s approach to genuinely partnering with schools is another important aspect to its effectiveness.  The school environment is extremely important to migrant and refugee children as it is where most of their earliest experiences are occur.  The schools RMCC partner with share the objectives of the organisation and are critical to the design and implementation of the RMCC programmes.  In that sense, the success of the RMCC is truly a shared one.


Why did you join the RMCC board and what do you hope to contribute?


From the moment I was approached to consider joining the RMCC board it felt like the right decision.  The RMCC is a wonderful organisation, and the passion and vision of its founders, Alice and Bobby, is extraordinary!

My interest in immigration and settlement policy stemmed from my first serious career role back in the 90s.  I am passionate about the benefits migration brings to Australia and am committed to making our nation as welcoming to migrants and refugees as possible. Critical to this is the initial settlement experience they face.  The RMCC’s programmes make a difference, and I wanted to be part of it.

I hope to contribute by ensuring that the board is strongly governed, and as supportive to the goals of the organisation as possible.  Each board member brings a variety of skills and experience to the table, and I want to ensure that RMCC is fully utilising these to successfully implement its exciting corporate plan.


Why We Do What We Do: the RMCC story

Making new friends, keeping up with the curriculum and feeling understood in a classroom of 30+ are all common struggles we experience when growing up. But for refugee and migrant children this is just the beginning.

Every year, 2,000 children from all corners of the globe are resettled in Victoria. This is their chance to start a fresh and create their own opportunities — but it doesn’t come without its challenges.

Language barriers, social changes and education indifferences can all trigger an overwhelming sense of detachment and insecurity.

“There is limited understanding and knowledge about the unique challenges refugee children and youth face once in their new country of settlement, making it a silent battle they are facing with inadequate short to long-term services to help them overcome these barriers and reach their full potential”
— Alice Wojcik, CEO and Founder of RMCC.

It’s because of this, RMCC exists. Together with our amazing network of volunteers and supporters, we tackle the unique barriers faced during the settlement journey to help make sure no kid is left behind.

Our Impact

From humble beginnings in 2012 to now, RMCC has empowered over 650 kids across multiple programs that target 4 specific areas: education, identity and belonging, life skills, and mental health and wellbeing.

These target areas create confidence, increase independence and prioritise wellbeing, so that a sense of belonging, value and identity can be developed within their direct and greater communities.

“You can see something shifts in the kids after some time with RMCC. Often, I first see them struggling with their challenges or reality, but over time they start gaining hope and looking to the future knowing they can become the best versions of themselves, and can take on or become anything” — Alice Wojcik

Why We Need Your Help

It’s black and white. We need your help because we know we’re making a huge difference to the lives of refugee and migrant children, and physically don’t have the capacity to reach more.

By joining in with our 30by30 campaign this month, you can help us get at least 30 children off our waiting list, and enrolled into programs that will help them develop a true sense of belonging.

Click here to learn how you can get involved — from hosting a school or corporate fundraising event, to becoming a regular donor or contributing a one-off donation, there are so many ways you can help!