The Value of Community Service - How our students are making a difference

Throughout the year, our Year 11 and 12 students and two staff members have been involved with a fortnightly soup patrol.  We help to feed disadvantaged people in the Fremantle area and communicate with them as we offer them soup, bread and fruit.  This is coordinated through the Red Cross, who facilitate the service by providing a van, with Hollywood Hospital providing the hot soup for us to distribute.  The students love this being involved with this activity and most students are keen to repeat the activity and are disappointed to find that all the available slots are generally already filled.
A Community Service Friday afternoon activity was run for students in Years 11 and 12.  The students opted into this activity and were able to identify issues that were relevant and important to them and find an organisation that worked in that area with whom they could volunteer.  In Term 1, one of the organisations we visited was Native Animal Rescue, where students had the opportunity to work on animal enrichment in cages, as well as building cages and equipment to enable this to happen in the future.  They also helped with the rehabilitation of injured animals, designing activities to increase their fitness and physical abilities before their eventual release.
Silver Chain is visiting the School next week, to arrange community service with the Year 11 and 12 boarders.  The plan is to reach out to socially isolated elderly people in the local area.  Many have few remaining friends and they may be living away from their families, with few interactions with other people.  We will use a school bus to pick the residents up to have afternoon tea with the boarders in the Dining Hall.  The aim is that a couple of times per term, the residents can be invited to school productions and to have dinner in the boarding house.  The biggest obstacle for many of these people is not having transport available – and we are able to provide this.  Hopefully this program will grow and develop as time goes on.
We have recently started liaising with The Smith Family, to discuss potential opportunities for students in Years 7, 8 and 9 – an area we are keen to develop.  One example of a program we might be able to get involved in is the S to S program (student to student).  This is a reading program in which a Guildford Grammar School student will be given a book, and a student in a younger year in a disadvantaged situation who is struggling with literacy will be given the same book. The idea is that the two students then phone each other for an hour a week and the Guildford Grammar School student will read out loud to them for that time.  This means that complicated travel arrangements are not required and both students can benefit from the experience.
We have also started discussions with Amana Living, who work with the elderly, to discuss ways in which our students may be able to assist them.  They are keen to get hold of any old iPods to pass on to elderly clients, as they have found that those with dementia can be helped by listening to music.  Music can apparently also be calming and help with fading memory.
In terms of Service Learning, the Year 1 teachers are currently working to include appropriate service learning in their classes.  Discussions are planned for later this term and this is an exciting area of development.
Woodbridge Primary School have made contact with us and they are interested in our Year 10 Drama students helping their Year 4 to 6 students who are playbuilding – writing their own drama.  Our students will help them to build their own performance and write their own scripts.  This will undoubtedly reinforce the skills our student have in the area playbuilding as well as developing their production management and directing skills (and being a lot of fun, too).
The opportunity to participate in such a diverse range of service learning and community service initiatives is a valuable one for our students and provides an idea of the sorts of activities in which they can be involved in the future.

Ms Selinna Forward
Director of Service Learning

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16 Jun 2017 - 9:59 AM
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