Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. Albert Camus
With the year drawing to a close, we are finalising reports and beginning preparations for the New Year. Before that however, staff and students will participate in what I believe to be one of the most worthwhile activities in the School Year; “Service Learning Week”.
This initiative has now been running for five years, and in this time we have seen a significant change in the attitude of students to the difficult circumstances others, less fortunate than themselves, experience in their day to day lives.
Before moving on to the importance and purpose this program plays in the lives of our students, I think it is important that we all understand exactly what the term “service” really means.
At Northholm, the term “service” refers to a donated service or activity performed on a voluntary basis by individual year groups for the wellbeing and benefit of other members of the community or in some cases, organisations.
Reasons that Demonstrate its Importance
There were several very good reasons for the introduction of this program and I think it is worth sharing them again so that parents understand the significant role this program plays in the development of our students.
Sense of Responsibility
As a School we want our students to be disciplined and work for a change. Community service is one way that we can instill this heightened sense of responsibility in young people while at the same time building their sense of connection to their community.
Good Moral Values
Moral values like honesty, humbleness, gratefulness, respect, non-judgment and sincerity are some of the virtues to be learned from serving the community. These characteristics cannot be taught with such effect in the in the classroom.
Service to others provides young people with the opportunity to think beyond ‘I, me, myself’, to develop a wider perspective of life while enhancing their own sense of wellbeing.
Unity Among All
Another reason we promote ’service’ is because it can be a vehicle for nation building. By emphasising the importance of working together for a good cause we help young people recognise the power of unity in supporting a good cause.
Changing Dreams into Reality
There are times where young people lose sight of their dreams and question their sense of purpose and achievement. Service can help them use their talents in new ways. Students often report that their experience in serving others gives them immense satisfaction and joy.
The significance this service experience provides in the lives of our students ultimately depends on how each individual student perceives it. The Service program is intended to instill students with a sense of civic engagement and community and we know from past years that when students approach this week with a positive outlook, the experience will enhance their capacity to achieve their developmental, social, and educational goals.
I look forward to the support of parents in reinforcing the importance of their children’s participation in this very worthwhile initiative.
This Years’ Service Programs are:
Kindergarten to Year Two – Animal Welfare (coordinated by Ms Ferris)
Years Three and Four – Smile Project Program (coordinated by Mr McRae)
Years Five and Six – Support for socio-economically disadvantaged communities in Cambodia (coordinated by Ms Barlow)
Year Seven World Vision – Poverty awareness globally (coordinated by Mrs Hill)
Year Eight – Refugees (coordinated by Mrs Challinor)
Year Nine – Individual and small group projects (coordinated by Mr Lockhart)
Year Ten – Supporting the education of students in a multicultural and socio-economically disadvantaged school by developing and maintaining outdoor learning environments and by acting as classroom assistants (coordinated by Mr McMillan).