Service Learning is our own ongoing exploration of what exactly it is in this life that we simply cannot walk past, without actually doing something (carefully and thoughtfully) about it. The Service journey has begun for many of our students who have taken up the opportunities provided by the College with its community partners.
For those still thinking about what they might engage in over the course of the semester or year, can I encourage you to think about the six ‘Rs’?
Respect: start your service journey by respecting the other person or party. That usually means you’ll have to stop talking and listen.
Relationship: build one that sees you walking and working alongside - rather than doing things for or AT others.
Return: exhibit long-term interest by coming back, in a mutually agreed and timely manner, to develop the work you have both begun.
Reality: funds run out. Sad and disappointing things can happen. People let you down. Respectful relationships and intentions of returning will be challenged. You simply have to get your own ‘act’ together and continue the journey.
Resilence: the need for you to walk alongside another is NEVER alleviated with a swift or straight-forward fix or the transfer of funds. It requires truly hangin’ in there when ugly reality sets in.
The media likes to tell our children they are the most important people in the world and they should be doing ‘whatever it takes’ to turn their dreams into reality. Parents and teachers can balance this by modelling and encouraging a genuine interest in the well-being of others.
Here are three simple things we can do to promote a servant heart in our children:
Have a conversation to explain why it is important to serve. Research has shown there are the proven benefits to our own wellbeing when we help others but our children also need to understand the responsibility that comes when we live in a community.
Children look to their parents for guidance on modelling behaviour. Being someone who helps others and the environment is one of the clearest ways for them to understand its importance. Share stories of others serving in your community so your child can see examples of ways to help.
Volunteer to do activities where you are serving together as a family. Spend 30 minutes on Saturday morning time keeping for the community Park Run or an hour revegetating the dunes together through an organised group. Could you cook a meal together for our Meals that Make a Difference programme for The Salvation Army? The list is endless and for further details of our IMPACT programme please visit here.
Oh and if you were wondering what the sixth R is, it’s Reflection. It underpins all the other ‘R’ words but like all service endeavours, time and place are crucial for it to be effective. You might want to reflect on this later.
Enjoy the following brief reflections from a selection of students across the College, following various activities this term:
Year 6:"Forfeiting my run to volunteer on a Saturday morning at Park Run allows me to cheer on everyone to finish. I enjoy handing out the finish tokens to people of all ages."
Year 7:"My time at Terraces was a great, new experience for me as I felt that many of the elderly are very warm and friendly. After a short time there, it has helped me realise that just talking to the elderly can put a smile on their faces and that makes my afternoon."
Year 8:"Cooking a meal for someone in need is beneficial for many. Obviously, the community in which I am serving (by providing them with food, but also a place for connection). I also feel a sense of benefit through preparing a meal. It helps me with my cooking skills and reminds me that helping others also makes me feel good. My little brother also helps me cook the meal and I like telling him what it is about and who it benefits."
Year 9:"I love being a Somerset Shed mentor, because it allows me to help younger students improve their skills in something that I take a lot of joy from."
Year 10:"Clover Connect reminds me how important it is to help people. It also gives me a greater understanding about the community."
Year 11:"I’m really looking forward to welcoming the Year 5 students from Murgon State School to the Celebration of Literature next week. Since B1 last June, I’ve missed their friendship, their laughter, running around with them at lunch and helping them with their school work in the classroom."
Teacher from Mudgeeraba Special School:"My boys have been excited all day waiting for the Somerset Students to return. It is the highlight of their week."
1st XV:"Our community boasts a strong sense of togetherness and commitment. By sticking to these core values, as a group it means that we are always there for each other and always willing to help one another and the needy in the greater community."