Romero Centre volunteer, Joe, sits working at his computer while smiling at the camera.

Volunteer spotlight: Joe

Meet Joe, one of our regular volunteers working in community engagement!

What is your role at Romero?
Identifying grant opportunities and writing grant applications.

How long have you been volunteering at Romero?
2 years.

What prompted you to start volunteering at Romero?
I retired from fulltime work in 2021. Working to support refugees and people seeking asylum was something I wanted to do. I knew of the genesis of the Romero Centre from being involved with Brisbane Sisters of Mercy involved in social justice and peace activism (many years ago) and having met Jose Zepeda (a refugee from El Salvador), who played a key role in establishing the predecessor to the Romero Centre and became Director of the Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care. It took me a few decades, but I finally got in contact. I was welcomed by staff and told that they were looking for someone to assist with obtaining grants and that suited me.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at Romero?
The Romero Centre is often the first port of call or the place of last resort for people seeking asylum – no one who genuinely needs assistance is turned away. It is a place of welcome for all, including volunteers and members of the broader community who provide assistance. Australia, quite deservedly, has a poor international reputation for the way it treats people seeking asylum and yet, at the Romero Centre, I see staff, volunteers and the broader community doing what they can to help people. And I get the opportunity to meet some amazing people who have escaped terrible situations and are working hard to make a new life in Australia. To be doing a little bit to support the continuation of this work is very rewarding.

What’s something people might not know about you?
I once went a round of boxing with the Australian professional middleweight champion. He was preparing for a title fight and I was training fodder. He hit me at will and I didn’t land a blow. Thankfully he was gentle.

If you’re interested in getting involved with the Romero Centre, visit our Get Involved page or flick us an email at

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