Become a WDP volunteer in Melbourne!
The Welcome Dinner Project thrives thanks to the incredible generosity of everyday people willing to open their hearts, minds and homes to welcome people of all backgrounds to their communities. Volunteers for the Welcome Dinner Project are ambassadors for welcome in their local area, working together in hubs to build more trusting, connected communities of welcome.
In volunteering with the Welcome Dinner Project, you will be joining a growing movement to make your community more kind, connected and welcoming. In Victoria we have a twice yearly recruitment program that is based on our volunteer needs in the community hubs where we work.
How do I become a volunteer?
We are currently taking applications for our next volunteer intake. If you are interested in applying, please follow the steps below.
- Read the Position Description here and read the Frequently Asked Questions below.
- Express your interest here.
What happens next?
- If you are shortlisted you will be called by a current WDP volunteer. Applicants for our upcoming volunteer intake will be contacted by WDP volunteers by early January 2020.
- If you are successful, you will be asked to attend a Volunteer Induction workshop, sign our volunteer agreement, and undergo a Police Check/provide a reference.
- Facilitate your first dinner! For your first dinner we make sure you are paired up with an experienced WDP volunteer.
Frequently asked questions
Can I still volunteer if I don’t speak fluent English?
Yes, in fact if you are asking this question then we encourage you to apply. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help understanding the application form.
Does WDP Victoria have an office?
WDP Victoria does not have a central office: we all work from our homes or shared office spaces. It can make things slightly more challenging but it also means WDP is incredibly flexible.
Welcome Dinners are organised by groups of volunteers located around Melbourne, and supported with guidance and resources from the Victorian State Coordinators and WDP National Team. At the induction workshop you will be introduced to the WDP volunteers who are already in your area (we call these ‘WDP hubs’) and who will help you facilitate your first dinner, whether it’s a larger community dinner or a smaller home dinner in a host’s house.
How do you select volunteers?
Generally, we are looking for a few things in your application:
- Your ability to commit to WDP
- Your motivation to join the movement
- Your gifts and talents that could benefit the work we do in local communities
- Your openness to meet people from all over the world with different stories to tell
We want to grow sustainably so each of our hubs have thought carefully about how many new volunteers they are able to support in this recruitment round and what kind of skills they need. If there are a lot of applicants from your area, we unfortunately may not be able to take you all in this season’s recruitment round.
What are the benefits of being a WDP volunteer?
We aim for you to leave WDP with an enhanced capacity to act as a change agent as well as:
- A professional reference
- Certificates in First Aid and food handling
- Increased empathy
- Greater self awareness
- Facilitation microskills
- Skills such as event management, organisation, conflict resolution, problem solving, critical thinking, creative thinking, reflective capacity.
- Digital capacities & remote working experience
- An expanded community and sense of belonging
- Research skills
- Pitching skills
- Negotiation skills
What is expected of me if I join WDP?
There are two main roles associated with each Welcome Dinner – facilitators and coordinators. New WDP volunteers are trained to facilitate dinners (more information about that here) and once active for 6 months, have the option of learning how to coordinate dinners (more information about that here).
But there are always other things we need help with – graphic design, marketing, training etc. – so we will invite you to contribute other things you are passionate, skilled and knowledgeable about!
Do I need to be a good facilitator to join WDP?
You don’t need to have any facilitation experience to join WDP – our induction and professional development program will give you the training you need to facilitate a welcome dinner. What’s more important to us is that you see all experiences as an opportunity to learn and that you are:
- Passionate about working with people from all backgrounds
- Committed to building relationships
- Responsive to emails/phone calls
What happens in the induction program?
During the induction program, new WDP volunteers learn:
- What WDP is and why it started
- Our unique process for organising a Welcome Dinner
- Scenario-based learning about facilitating in inter-cultural settings, managing risks, and overcoming barriers to connection with others
- Group-based facilitation skills
- How to work virtually using online collaborative tools
- How to give an acknowledgement of country
- How to keep food as safe as possible
We try to make the induction meaningful and fun, just like Welcome Dinners!
You will be required to:
- Complete online modules
- Attend a training workshop (preferably in your local area). Food will be provided and transport costs will be covered for volunteers who need it.
- Attend the Acknowledgement of Country workshop
- Obtain a food safety certification
What is an Acknowledgement of Country and why do you train volunteers for it?
Unless we have Aboriginal ancestry, we are relatively recent arrivals to Australia. We all have to grapple with the uncomfortable reality that the settler state of Australia was not welcomed by most Aboriginal people.
As such, WDP is passionate and committed to supporting Aboriginal sovereignty and self determination. This will only be achieved if all of us who live in Australia learn this country’s real history and current situation, ideally directly from Aboriginal people themselves.
An Acknowledgement of Country is conducted at the beginning of every Welcome Dinner by the dinner facilitators. The Acknowledgement pays respect to the Traditional Custodians of the land that the dinner is held on and intends to educate and encourage dinner guests to think about what they can do to support Aboriginal sovereignty and self determination.
We expect all WDP volunteers to take the time to learn how to properly Acknowledge Country. We are incredibly lucky to have Dean Stewart, a Wemba-Wemba Wergaia man who runs Aboriginal Tours and Education Melbourne (A-TAEM), run his Birrarung Marr walking tour as part of our Acknowledgement of Country training. Learn more about the training here.
WDP also endeavours to have Aboriginal Elders conduct Welcome to Country ceremonies at all Community Welcome Dinners and invites all Aboriginal people to join the WDP movement as dinner guests and volunteers.
Can I volunteer for just one month?
As we invest a lot of time and love in training and supporting each other to grow, we normally ask all WDP volunteers to commit to at least 12 months in the project (though volunteers are welcome to take breaks from WDP during busy periods in their life and return at a later date). We hope you would be able to commit a minimum 12 hours per season, which could include facilitating a dinner, attending a professional development training, attending volunteer catch ups and staying active in our volunteer Facebook group.
Most volunteers are active for a number of years because it’s such a great way to meet new people and have fun at the same time!
How often do you take new volunteers?
We run two volunteer recruitments and inductions per year. We have chosen this approach to ensure we can run high quality training programs and support new volunteers to find their place in the community.
If you are keen to join as a WDP volunteer and applications are not open at the time you see this, write to us at email@example.com to be put in touch with the volunteers in your area to find out how else you can get involved.
What is a ‘typical’ WDP volunteer like?
The people in WDP come from all backgrounds, ages and experiences. There is no ‘typical’ WDP volunteer. We do aim for 50% of our volunteers to be established Australians and 50% of our volunteers to be newly arrived community members.
Do I need a Police Check and a Working With Children Check?
All Australian permanent residents / citizens will need to have a current Victorian police check (not more than 3 years old) before joining the induction program. Volunteers who are accepted into WDP will have the cost of the police check covered by WDP if they do not already have a current police check. People who are not either permanent residents or Australian citizens will be asked to provide a written reference from someone they are connected to in Australia (e.g. case worker, teacher, employer etc).
Working with Children Checks are not compulsory for WDP volunteers.
I am under 18. Can I be a volunteer?
Unfortunately we are not currently able to support volunteers under the age of 18. However we encourage your parent/guardian to volunteer with us and then they can bring you along.
It was an honour to host Australian people in our home.
– Mohannad & Maisoon (newly arrived family, refugee background)