Who am I?
Hey there, my name's Martin and I've been a mentor for the Achievers Club since early 2019 and board member since Feb 2020.
I was born and bred in the northern suburbs of Perth; the fourth of five children from my parents who had immigrated in the early 1980's following the Vietnam War. During this time there was a high influx of Vietnamese immigrants coming to Australia, and so the subsequent Vietnamese community that developed became quite large and tight-knit. My mum and dad met here, learnt English, found a job, bought the house, and successfully raised my three sisters, little brother, and me. We never had a great deal of money or nice things, but that didn't matter so long as we had family and friends, safety and security, and opportunity for the future.
After high school I was unexpectedly given a spot into Murdoch University's Vet Science program and so endured six-months of pursuing my 7-year old dream of helping animals before remembering science was definitely not my forte. I transferred to UWA and took on a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology and Music to become a music teacher, and later changed to a BA Psych/French major when realising teaching wasn't for me. I then went on to complete the Master of Social Work postgraduate course also at UWA, and have been working as a qualified Social Worker ever since. In my eyes though there is still so much to learn, and so I'm studying a postgrad in public policy part-time online whilst working. I've been lucky enough to do a fair chunk of travel interstate and in Asia and Europe whilst I was studying full-time by supporting myself through casual work as a swimming teacher, tutor, lifeguard, and youth worker.
My mentoring experience
After finishing my social work degree and entering the full-time workforce I found myself having a bit more spare time than usual, and for some reason binging Netflix and scrolling through my Facebook feed didn't seem nearly as fun when it wasn't being used to procrastinate from assignments and study. Through uni and work I've had the privilege of being more exposed to the most disadvantaged groups in society, and it always takes me back to how grateful I am for the opportunities that have come before me up til now. During uni I volunteered with an organisation called Ignite Mentoring based at Balga Senior High and really enjoyed working with young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds trying to integrate into the Australian education system and way of life. I then did similar work as a youth worker and it always gets me thinking of the experiences of my parents and pride in their successes. Once I heard about the Achievers Club through a work colleague I knew it was exactly the type of extra volunteer work i wanted to do that also flowed easily into my schedule, and I've never looked back since. It's the perfect mix of academics and mentoring/role-modelling as there's so much room to work with the kids in navigating a completely new educational institution and also take some stress off of their parents backs.