SCARF will miss one of our longest and most dedicated volunteers, L2P Founder and Coordinator, Ted Booth.
We’d like to publicly acknowledge and thank Ted for his longstanding commitment, support and contribution to SCARF over several years!
Ted’s journey with SCARF:
Ted has taken on many different roles in his time with SCARF including as President of SCARF’s Management Committee in 2012-13; L2P Program Coordinator since 2009, a driver mentor, and a friend to many refugee families who have joined the Wollongong community over the past 10 years.
Ted established SCARF’s L2P learner driver mentor program in 2009, recognising the need for accessible, affordable driving sessions for learners from refugee backgrounds. Ted realised that most refugee entrants cannot afford professional driving lessons. For those under 25 years old, the lack of affordable driving lessons is particularly challenging as they are required to complete 120 hours of driving practice prior to sitting the practical test.
Ted’s founding of the L2P program filled a very real gap in services and support for refugee families starting a new life in the Illawarra.
For many SCARF families, only one member of the household may have the confidence or capacity to learn to drive in Australia. The opportunity to become a fully licensed driver can have a significant impact on the successful settlement of the entire family as gaining a license increases capacity to access essential services, work opportunities and community participation. Licensed drivers become a valuable community resource in relation to safe road use, mobility and inclusion for people from refugee backgrounds and may also act as supervising drivers for other family/community members.
Since 2009, under Ted’s guidance, the L2P program has continued to grow thanks also to the hard work and commitment of co-coordinators, Carole Carter and John Ruperto.
The L2P coordination team have not been alone in their mission to assist learners from refugee backgrounds to gain their license. They have worked with a trusted team of volunteer driver mentors – with nerves of steel – who demonstrate patience, compassion and an ability to calmly deal with the unexpected in every driving session they deliver.
This special team of people continue to work tirelessly to support learners from refugee backgrounds who otherwise would not have access to a supervising driver, to gain the skills, knowledge and practice necessary on the pathway to becoming licensed.
Thanks to Ted’s energy and creativity, the L2P program has offered a range of additional activities and supports including:
- production of a Road and Traffic Signs DVD as an innovative teaching and learning tool demonstrating what drivers should do when approaching different signs; and
- workshops on ‘Buying Your First Car’ and ‘Keeping Your Car on the Road’ to help community members navigate the process of buying and owning a car in Australia.
Ted’s achievements with L2P:
Over the past 7 years, under Ted’s guidance, the L2P program has helped over 70 refugee learners gain their license. For each of these former learners, this is undoubtedly a skill and an achievement that they appreciate every day.
And for SCARF, the need for the L2P program continues to grow. SCARF receives at least 10 – 15 enquiries per month from people seeking driving education & mentoring support at different stages in the process of gaining a license. In addition, SCARF is currently in the process of welcoming 70 new families (from Syria and Iraq) who have arrived in the Illawarra between May – July 2016, most of whom have requested driving education/mentoring support for at least one member of their family.
It’s a testament to the robust foundation that Ted and the dedicated team of driver mentors has built over the past 7 years, that we are now exploring ways to expand and sustain SCARF’s L2P program in future:
Thank you Ted for this tangible and invaluable legacy that you have created for the SCARF community. We wish you all the best in your new role as Chair of IMS.