Whenever Dr Eduardo Benitez-Sandoval moves house, he looks for ways to contribute.
The academic from Mexico City simply wants to give back to the community.
Mid-last year, he heard about volunteer opportunities in the local area with South Eastern Community Connect.
So he called the charity’s volunteer coordinator Sue Ohanian.
Finding the right fit
As he and Sue spoke, it became clear there was the perfect role for him.
The Adolescent and Family team recently launched a tutoring program.
And they needed someone who had a teaching background to step into the breach.
And Eduardo seemed like the right fit.
“I’m always keen to contribute to contribute to my community when I’m in a new neighbourhood,” he says.
“I’ve lived in different countries, such as Japan, New Zealand, Germany, and Mexico.
And giving back has always been important to me.”
So Sue gave Eduardo the opportunity to tutor a local 15-year-old student in Maths last year.
“It’s been great,” he says.
“We have fun together and share about our hobbies such as robotic modelling.”
Eduardo works in robotics at the nearby UNSW.
And he’s been able to use his skills to help the student with maths-related questions.
“It’s a nice experience, and I’m glad I can contribute to someone’s life in this way.
“Tonny Ahmed is a great facilitator, providing us with the right study environment.
“I’m comfortable at SECC and the people there are beautiful. They’re welcoming to me and very open to my suggestions about how to support students in Maths.”
Growth lies ahead
There are hopes that the tutoring program will grow.
And Eduardo would like to provide mentoring to more students who need it.
“I enjoy it a lot,” he says.
“It’s good for my soul and I’m better off for putting my skills in service to others.”
Working with the students helps him see the world from another perspective.
“It’s always good to chat with people in the community who are different to us,” he says.
“Even though our backgrounds aren’t the same we have a lot of similarities as well.
“It’s interesting to learn about the Australian way of thinking. Even though I’m the tutor, I also learn so much from students.”
Eduardo is doing his PHD in Human Interface Technology.
He also has his Masters in Industrial Design and a Bachelor’s degree in Bionic Engineering.
Not only that, he has a Diploma in teaching.
He hopes to give back for as long as he is able.
“Eduardo is a great asset to our centre,” Adolescent and Family Worker Tonny Ahmed says.
“We’re so thankful for his contributions.
“We’d love to see more students in south-east Sydney take part.”
The tutoring program runs weekly at The SECC Community Hub in Mascot. Enquiries: (02) 7903 0607 or email Tonny here.