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Orange’s newest volunteer

When Preeti Singla meets up later this week with a recently- arrived family from Africa, she will be Orange City Council’s newest volunteer.

Born in India, Preeti grew up with her parents in Botswana. She’s also lived in Germany and the UAE before coming to Australia about a year ago.

After staying with her sister in Tasmania, she was invited by a friend to visit Orange. With her husband and two young children she was looking for a place to live : “It was beautiful. We just loved it.”

The family moved here in January.

She has her MBA and is looking out for work in management.

In the meantime, Preeti believes working as a volunteer “is helping me get to know the community.”

“I wanted to get to know the people and thought the City Council is the best place to start with,” Preeti Singla said.

New volunteer Preeti Singla is pictured with Migrant Support, Worker Monica EngelSUPPORT : Orange City Council’s newest volunteer Preeti Singla (at right) finds out more about the Mentor Connections program from the council’s Assistant Migrant Support Worker, Monica Engel.

She’s now signed on to be a volunteer with the Mentor Connections program which aims to support newly-arrived migrant families in Orange.

Ms Singla expects she’ll be able to draw on her own experience of living in a new country : “I’m sure we’ll be in the same boat.”

“I know how it feels to get into a new community.”

“When I moved to another country, the first task I’ve faced is to ask how I start making friends.”

“ I have kids and a school can be the first place to make friends but what if someone  doesn’t have kids. For them it’s difficult to get inside the community.”

The mentors program is about paying a visit to a newly-arrived family, offering companionship and simple advice on how find what they need in the local community.

“It’s not  difficult to talk to someone. You just have to be yourself. That’s the important thing.”

Orange City Council’s Mentor Connections program has been funded by the NSW Government through Multicultural NSW.

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