Watch any television News broadcast and you are sure to be confronted with a barrage of stories that reflect the sadness and desperation that many individuals face in this modern world. Take a short stroll down the street and it won’t be long before you are faced with some form of injustice, whether that be experienced first-hand or witnessed from a distance. Society seems to be in a constant struggle of hopelessness and insurmountable problems, where the task seems too great for just one individual to make a difference.
We think of today’s younger generation as the leaders of tomorrow, yet so many of them are weighed down by the pressures of today that they have no idea about tomorrow. Facebook posts, Instagram ‘likes’, ATAR scores, University plans, the list goes on. And even when they recognise that there is a need for change – that there is a whole world out there – they feel hopeless and overawed at the vastness of what a change in that world would require. How much difference can one individual make anyway? Former U.S President Barack Obama said it best in these words: “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope”.
Seeking a fresh perspective, casting an eye on ‘how the other half live’ can provide young and old with the stark reality that it’s actually more like ‘how the majority of the world live’. We are in fact the small fraction of the population that don’t have to worry about where our next meal will come from or where we will sleep tonight. Volunteering can be an avenue through which perspective is gained, and the seed of a fresh outlook can be planted. Over the comfort of a warm meal, conversations can be struck and a new community can be developed; a community where people who face many kinds of challenges can be treated as equals and cared for as fellow citizens of the Greater Geelong community.
In our subject ‘Jesus In The Modern World’, we specifically look at issues that are faced by people in the Greater Geelong community, and intentionally spend time forming relationships with those people. The elderly, people experiencing homelessness, refugees and those less fortunate than ourselves are among the cross section of people that our students come in contact with while studying this topic.
In addition to the organised outings and excursions that form a significant part of the curriculum, students are tasked to source and complete their own volunteer experience in their local community. We encourage them to look around, find an area of need, and actively become involved in helping with that need. We want the students to look beyond their individual sphere of influence and become a ‘global citizen’ within their own community.
Volunteering is a selfless and sacrificial act. For many people, giving up one of our most precious commodities, time, is a significant sacrifice. Assisting others should be done for that very purpose – helping others. However, there are some very positive outcomes from the experience of volunteering that can be gained by students. Volunteering can help counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety through meaningful connections with other people. It can provide a sense of purpose, can increase self-confidence, make a difference, can help you meet new people, take on new challenges, have fun and learn new skills.
The importance of ‘good work’ that is ethical and engaging is a key part of the message we send our students. Our College constantly aims to foster the value of community, and this is epitomised within the Christian College community itself. There are many opportunities throughout our College to volunteer and assist others – locally, nationally and internationally. This is something I personally love about our College; no act of kindness is ever wasted.
Senior School - Waurn Ponds
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