Somerset Times

2016 Impact Dinner

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 5,
Term Two, 2016

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At the College we aim for all of the service opportunities that our students engage in to evolve beyond simply doing good for others; to them engaging in meaningful dialogue with our highly valued community partners in order to identify genuine actions through which a shared common good can be achieved.

The Impact Dinner was hosted by the Impact Committee last Tuesday evening and attended by 80 guests.

To provide opportunities for students to build personal relationships with the charities our College supports, we invited representatives from the following:

  • Daniel George from Still I Rise
  • Richard Patterson from Volunteering Gold Coast
  • Terry Ryan from Swags for the Homeless
  • Aileen MacGregor from Guide Dogs Australia
  • Vicki James from Care Flight
  • Mona Nielsen representing the Salvation Army (for our Meals that Make a Difference programme) and Still Waters, a support for women in need of shelter from domestic violence
  • Peggy Mucci and Risa Utama from Save the Bilby Foundation
  • Katie Chipan from RizeUp
  • and Lee Danahay and Maria Bridgman from OzHarvest.

As a committee, we endeavour to help our students and members of our community to develop a genuine understanding of a need or issue which authenticates their involvement in service. Tuesday evening’s Impact Dinner was about just that! We were hoping that through conversations with the community representatives present at each of the tables, we would grow in our understanding of the causes that they represent within their respective charities and become ambassadors for their causes not only within the College Community but the wider community also.

Sitting around the tables decorated with a centrepiece for each charity, created by the talented members of our Impact Committee, we also had the privilege of listening to our special guest speaker, Dr John Gerrard, who took us on his journey as a member of the Australian team that was sent to Sierra Leone during the Ebola Crisis two years ago. It was an eye opening and inspiring speech and we were all mesmerised by the his stories about his experience. Something that had seemed so far away and surreal to us, now felt very real. Dr Gerrard’s insight into the Ebola Crisis was truly amazing and left us in no doubt that when opportunities arise to help better the lives of others, indeed make a significant impact on the wellbeing of humanity as he did, we must grab it with both hands. He describes his work in Sierra Leone as an opportunity that was simply life changing – to all involved – the patients, nurses and doctors.

During the evening we also listened to Year 9 student Ainsley McCarthy talk on ‘How involvement in Service is shaping who she is becoming’. Ainsley spoke of her experiences within the College, the local and national community, and also abroad on the 2014 trip to Chiang Mai where she engaged in service at the a Huay Pong Hill tribe School and the Vien Ping Orphanage. We were left with no doubt that Ainsley has been truly inspired and we were inspired just listening to her explain her experiences. Her closing remarks were these:

I lead a very privileged existence and I’ve come to realise that this is not the case for everybody. Even if I can’t change the world, I can make a contribution on some scale. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you have personally changed someone life for the better, even if it is just for one day.

As the Impact Committee looks to the year ahead, we will continue to be guided by the two underpinning and guiding questions of the College Impact Programme; How am I helping? and, Who am I becoming?

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