Volunteering at the Children’s Festival
On Sunday, March 15, the OLT team and Korean and Japanese missionaries volunteered at the Children’s Festival 2015 at First Fleet Park, Sydney.
This festival was a chance for Australians to celebrate multiculturalism, with the theme of “I am a proud Australian.” Children of many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds showed up in traditional outfits and participated in the parade and musical performances. From our community, about 20 children took part in the parade, some wearing the FFWP t-shirts and others in bright traditional Korean dress, or hanboks.
The festival also included a range of activities for the children, and our volunteers assisted with some of those. OLT members arrived at 8am to provide support with the set-up and preparations for the festival, and from 10:30 some members were in charge of the coloring-in competition and also did face painting, which proved to be a highly popular activity and kept them occupied right until 2pm, when the Koreans and Japanese arrived for their shift. Meanwhile, other members assisted with the parade, with general maintenance and clean up, on stand-by to support any activity. In the afternoon, a couple of missionaries also minded the inflated jumping castle. The OLT members had lunch and left at around 2:30, while the second group of volunteers stayed until the end of the festival and helped with the clean-up.
All members invested a lot of energy and were exhausted at the end of the day, but it was also a very rewarding experience and an opportunity to give to the Australian community.
Since it first began in 1999, the Children’s Festival has been running annually in Bankstown, but this is only its second year in Sydney city. Mark Burfield, one of our members, is a co-chair of the Children’s Festival Organisation, and UPF and OLT have been volunteering for many years now and we hope to continue to do so in the future.