Jody Dontje

Where are you now?

I graduated in 2015 and am currently teaching in the UK! I was lucky enough to get a place with the ANZUK agency which places me into schools 5 days a week. At the end of the year, I will be moving to Nepal to continue running The Help Nepal Appeal (more below…)

What leadership/volunteering did you do at uni? What did you get out of it?

I owe so much of my current success to the leadership and volunteer experience that I was involved in during university. There are so many examples that I can give, but these are a few highlights:

Mentor Program – Everyone gets a mentor during 1st year, but actually becoming one in my 2nd year was extremely valuable to me - Suddenly I was the one helping others to gain friends and support! 

AIME Mentoring – Mentoring Indigenous High-Schoolers helped me to overcome my identity issues and built my confidence. It made me passionate about Indigenous Education and gave me a sense of self-worth. 

FedUni Outreach – Going on the road talking to rural schoolkids about higher education enabled me to push my comfort zone and inspired me to teach High School instead of my original Primary School focus. 

Leadership & Volunteering@FedUni – Their workshops, recognition and support enhanced my knowledge, skills and values as a leader. After 4 years of attending workshops, I was empowered to run my own which helped me think about my areas of strength and improvement.  

National Conferences – Attending the National Student Leadership Forum in Canberra thanks to a grant from the Leadership team genuinely changed my life, connecting me with inspirational leaders from around Australia who taught me so much.

The Help Nepal Appeal – In my final year at Uni I founded a not-for-profit initiative - The Help Nepal Appeal - in response to the earthquakes in 2015. That year we raised over $10,000, and now we're expanding to provide volunteer opportunities in Nepal and at home for people just like YOU (shameless plug): http://thehelpnepalappeal.wix.com/thna - "The 'Help Nepal' Appeal" could not have been launched so successfully and have raised the money and awareness that it did without the support of incredible individuals from Leadership & Volunteering@FedUni and from around the university. Many Nepali men, women and children have these incredible people to thank. Their support has surely changed my life, as I now plan to move to Nepal for a longer period of time and to build this appeal into a larger and more internationally recognised charity and volunteer agency. 

I'm actually moving to Nepal at the end of the year to run the appeal on-the-ground which is NOT where I thought I'd end up when I started at Uni 4 years ago – my life has changed because I decided to get involved with leadership and volunteer activities so I urge you to do the same!