‘In 2020 students were forced to stay at home and proceed with online learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic,’ says Jerry Lu. ‘There was this news story one day that caught my attention, it was something along the lines of a parent struggling to balance working from home, whilst looking after their kids with remote learning. I felt so sorry for children whose learning was taking a step back because of the pandemic, and I wanted to do something for the kids who were missing out on the opportunity to learn.’

‘Through my parents, I was introduced to the 3H Program and was given the opportunity to be interviewed by the founders of the program.’ As Jerry explains, the 3H Program is a non-for-profit community organisation that aims to provide extra learning activities for students in Victoria in Years 3-6, supplementing what they are already doing at school with the standard Australian curriculum. The program offers a free experience for primary school students to engage in a series of classes from academic subjects, such as English, STEM and Humanities. Classes are taught by mentors from Years 7-11 who have been recruited through a rigorous selection process. The mentors are all very competent and talented, receiving many significant awards in ICAS, AMC etc., but most importantly, they are all volunteers and very eager to teach and mentor younger students.

‘Although I was nervous, I was accepted and was put into the role of Subject Administrator for Science (I was effectively the person in charge of science).’ The challenge then came for Jerry to actually begin teaching sessions with his new students and, although his experience with teaching primary school kids was limited, Jerry took on the role with passion and enthusiasm and gave it his all to make the online lessons fun and interesting. ‘Whenever I received feedback such as “I loved the lesson” or “I love 3H”, a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment filled my heart,’ says Jerry.

‘I continued participating and was given the chance to become a General Administrator, or Mentor Leader,’ adds Jerry. ‘Alongside the founder of the program, I was extensively involved in planning for future sessions of the program while creating the best environment for mentors to work together. We came up with the idea of a small project and group task for science, and the students had to form groups and create a mini presentation about an animal that would be suitable for a particular type of biome. While assisting the students in their team and with the detail of the project, I was fascinated by the creativity of the kids. It was a spark during the boring, long, tedious lockdown.’

‘In 2021, we agreed to start planning for face-to-face sessions with the students and it put even more pressure on the mentors to deliver the same quality lesson. For the STEM activity, where I was involved, we set up three different activities in the local library, including a team contest, code breaking and engineering. The kids absolutely loved it. The 3H Program is still growing, and the goals have not changed at all – to always provide kids with an amazing experience.’

Jerry Ji, who joined Jerry Lu as a mentor with 3H, said that ‘I always wanted to do some volunteer work, give back to the community in a way that mattered, but I could never find the right opportunity to do so. 3H helped me achieve this goal, allowing me to help others by doing something I enjoy: teaching. My time at 3H has been brief, but in this short amount of time I felt that I was part of something that really changed the world for the better, even if it was only by a tiny amount. The people here really believe in their cause, and I think that is very inspiring.’

Similarly, Je-Rard Cheong found himself looking for an opportunity to volunteer this year. ‘I had several ideas at the time: Salvation Army, food bank, maybe the RSPCA. Jerry Lu, learning about this, introduced me to 3H and the work they do. After being interviewed and accepted into the organisation, I was welcomed by a crowd of friendly, hard-working students eager to impart their knowledge,’ explains Je-Rard. ‘They showed such passion for the work they did, and I felt inspired to do the same. It was a pleasure to work with great people striving for a great purpose. I was given History and Geography to teach, areas I myself enjoy learning about. When preparing to deliver my first lesson, I was given support at every turn; materials, advice and encouragement flowed freely. Working with another mentor, we delivered our lesson. To see that our actions had such a positive impact, is something I will always cherish. I look forward to continuing my involvement with 3H into the future, with physical workshops and more lessons.’

Jerry, Je-Rard and Jerry encourage everyone to join a volunteer service and to use their skills and strengths to help improve the lives of others. ‘We would love to have more Camberwell boys join us in this meaningful opportunity.’

For more information, visit the 3H website here or email 3H directly at [email protected].