A group of Swanonline students from Year 7 to Year 12 took part in their very first Community Service Day this year.
The day created a sense of unity across the full scale of our online school and it was a privilege to go out into the community together.
Whilst attendance numbers were small the heart of the students who attended was large. Throughout the day it was noted that new friendships were being formed and existing friendships strengthened. One thing that offered me much encouragement and made the day unique was that because all year groups were invited, siblings had the opportunity to work side by side and I could see how this provided opportunities for new conversations about how to serve in local communities to open up within family groups.
Gardening for pensioners
The morning saw students gardening at the home of a pensioner as part of an initiative called 'Work for Care'. The aim of the program is to help pensioners by completing garden tasks they would be unable to manage themselves, and in this way, keep them in their own homes for longer. The day was humid and the weeds looked like they were taking over the whole yard, but students attacked the tasks with good vigour and over the course of few hours work were able to see an impact made on the garden beds. I was so impressed to see the work ethic of our students and the way they soldiered through despite the humid working conditions. A trailer was filled with weeds and the pensioner provided juice boxes for our thirsty work.
Good Samaritan facilities
The afternoon saw the students taken on a tour of the Good Samaritan Facilities. Students (and teachers) learned that the foundation reason behind Good Samaritans is not the recycling and provision to communities of used goods but the opportunity to provide employment opportunities for the disabled. After the tour of the facilities, that were larger then I imagined, students and teachers were placed on the work floor alongside staff to assist in tasks. The keenness in which students engaged in these tasks and the reluctance to wrap up when our time drew to a close was the highlight of the day for me. The only complaint I heard all day from students was that we didn't get to work for long enough!
This was a positive day providing opportunity for team building and interaction between students who often work on tasks alone, as well as benefiting individuals and organisations within our community. I encourage all online students to consider being part of the Swanonline Community Service day in future years.
We would like to thank our Head of Service Learning, Mr Ray Hockley, for making this day happen.
Mrs Bronwyn Dennis