Jesse Wundenberg - Volunteer at Mobilong and Yatala Labour Prison

1. When did you start volunteering with DCS?
My journey as a volunteer started in December 2016; however, my first assignment was not until late January of the following year.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
My childhood involved lots of moving as we followed my Dads job in the mining industry. I was born in Adelaide but then moved to Borneo, Indonesia at three months old. After a year in Borneo we moved to Newman, Western Australia. My family then relocated back to Indonesia after leaving Newman. We lived on the island of Lombok for one year. Once accommodation for families was established for the Batu-Hijau mine, we then moved to the island of Sumbawa. We lived on Sumbawa for a total of six years. After a second stint in Indonesia my family moved to Cajamarca, Peru.

It was definitely a culture shock attending my first day of school in South America, as the class spoke predominantly Spanish. We lived in Peru for two years before returning to Australia. I finished school in Adelaide, and then travelled back to South America with friends.

Following a year of travel and work, I started a studying a business degree at university which I chose to discontinue. After leaving university I worked as a landscaper for two and a half years full-time. I then decided to go back to university. I started studying a Bachelor of Criminology which I am still completing.

3. Why did you decide to become a volunteer and how has volunteering benefited you?
I decided to become a volunteer for a number reasons. It made sense to gain some form of practical experience whilst completing my degree in criminology. I noticed the Corrections SA volunteer program, and looked into it further. I was very interested by the different roles the Corrections SA volunteer program had to offer. The idea of helping people, and offering some kind of assistance was another compelling reason for my decision.

Volunteering has been beneficial in many ways. Firstly, it has made me develop as a person in many important ways. Secondly, volunteering has added a practical element to my degree at university. As a result, many of the things I am taught have become more relatable

4. Which Prison/s or Community Correctional Centres have you volunteered at?
I have volunteered at Mobilong on a regular basis, and at Yatala Labour Prison on one occasion.

5. What do you do in your volunteer role at the prison?My primary role as a volunteer has involved visiting an international prisoner at Mobilong on a regular basis. My role has been to offer some kind of correspondence to a world outside of prison due to limited family contact.

As I have visited Mobilong on a regular basis it has also worked to incorporate a number of family visit requests into my trip. I have offered transport to a number of individuals in a government car on separate occasions.

Another volunteer experience I have had was visiting an individual in Yatala Labour Prison who was to be released in only a few weeks following my visit. A volunteer request was filed by a social worker, and I was sent to talk to an individual prior to his release.

6. What do you enjoy most about your role?
The thing I enjoy the most about my role has been meeting people who have shared different life experiences. I have learnt many valuable things about many different cultures, including Indigenous Australian culture. More specifically some of my family visit trips have enlightened me on the Kaurna people of the Adelaide plains. It has been very rewarding helping individuals visit family members on different occasions.

It brings me satisfaction to feel as if I am helping people in some kind of way. Overall, volunteering has been an incredibly valuable experience. I feel as if I have developed as a person, and gained a better understanding of life. Overall it has been a very rewarding experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested.

7. What else do you like to do when you're not volunteering?
When I am not volunteering I enjoy a number of activities. Two of my favourite things are travelling, and the outdoors. Some of my hobbies include motocross, mountain biking football, and fishing.