Sandgate District State High School
The year 10 students worked on two major volunteering programs in 2011. One class worked and helped with Taigum State School's gardening needs. The students were involved in weeding, mulching and general maintenance of the garden. Other students helped the groundsman at the school as they have a large area which includes a community garden, chicken coup and other gardens, so a group of Sandgate students worked with the groundsman for two hours per week.
Sian Higgs student of Sandgate District State High School says, "just realising that we have helped and contributed toward cleaning up a school was a good experience and feeling by itself. This volunteering opporutnity also helped us to understand better the information about the different plants on the school premises, and it gave us an insight into the lives of aboriginals with regard to the usage of plants in the bush."
Mary MacKillop College
Stephanie McGuiness, senior student, Mary Mackillop College, undertook Certificate II in Active Volunteering, she has completed placements at KSP Theatre in Burpengary, and the MMC Breakfast Club. She has also completed a Cert III in Children's Services and Cert III in Christian Ministries and Theology while completing year 12.
She says, "I found the booklets were very simple and easy to understand. Volunteering has given me an experience in different environments and taught me some important and essential life skills. In particular, the volunteering at KSP theatre gave me an opportunity to meet people from various walks of life".
Stephanie says that she thinks doing a certificate in volunteering is a great opportunity for people who don't know what they want to do because it can open up a lot of opportunities for the future. "I am now considering doing an advanced certificate in volunteering because I really enjoy helping others and being out in the community".
Students from Caloundra City Private School recently had an opportunity to learn about the past from those who experienced it first hand with a visit to Seasons Caloundra Aged Care Village at Golden Beach.
Part of their studies toward gaining a Certificate II in Active Volunteering, students chatted with residents to learn about their family, childhood, school experiences and just how different life was ‘back in the day’.
The Certificate is offered through a partnership between Volunteering Qld’s Students As Active Volunteers Initiative (SAAVI) and local schools.
“I think it’s very beneficial for both sides, particularly for the children to learn the older people’s stories, and there are some people here with amazing stories,” said Seasons’ Program Manager Kaye Ross.
The program will see students compile a short memoir of a resident’s life, which the resident can then present to their family to ensure precious memories are not forgotten.
Coordinator Barry Pederson believes the program is an important step for the students in becoming engaged with their local community.
“The students that we’ve put on the program are of an age where by learning about the people they live with and by volunteering to do what they’re doing, they have the opportunity to develop some kind of social responsibility,” he said.
“Working with the elderly people in the village also gives our students the chance to get that greater understanding of history, from people that have really done it”.
Student Bronte said that talking with residents had been extremely interesting and beneficial for all involved.
Corinda High School
Students who were at risk of disengaging with learning and school in Year 10-11 were involved in a program of combined study involving the Certificate I in Construction, Certificate II in Active Volunteering and workplace practices.
The school had been donated a Qld Rail House that was going to be renovated into a community centre. So students were involved in aspects of these renovations in their own time while gaining industry skills. Other initiatives the students undertook were building playground equipment for the local crèche, disability access to toilets and side tables for people in the local aged care facility.
Many of the students successfully completed Year 12 and gained their QCE, some have gained full time employment as a result of their experiences, others have a step ahead when applying for jobs in their chosen areas and many want to come back and provide mentor support to the next round of students.
The school has now identified that they want to offer Active Volunteering through their Student Leadership Program (SLP) so all students have the opportunity to volunteer and make a difference in the community. They have decided to add it to their Registered Training Organisation scope and work with Volunteering Qld as consultants.
Reflections from Head of Dept - Manual Arts, Neil Rogers, commented that at first the kids were ‘no way’ and did not want to work together, however a few weeks into the program a bond and support system developed.
They would meet early morning before school to have breakfast together and develop their workplan during non-school contact hours. They participated on weekends and before and after school. Their assessment activities reflected that they ‘got it’ in terms of how they knew they were contributing to something meaningful.
Craigslea High School
Craigslea High School has offered a ‘Service Learning Program’ through its Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) for a number of years now which contributed to their authority registered studies.
The school embraced the notion of aligning the Active Volunteering qualification with their SOSE program as something genuine that they can undertake and take to their employer as evidence of skills and motivations.
Students had a choice as to whether they wanted to participate in Active Volunteering and were informed that extra outside of school volunteer work would be required. Sixteen of the 25 students in the SOSE program chose to become active volunteers.
Each identified their own areas of interest and skills and were matched with community organisations across a range of industries including Bunyaville State Forest, Meals on Wheels, RSPCA, Oxfam, Lifeline, Salvation Army, Australia Zoo Animal Hospital, Sensitivity Unit and Expresso Train Café.
Reflections by Craigslea Teacher, Andrew Blight, were that “student volunteers not only help those less fortunate but their efforts contribute to their education… our students quickly recognised the benefits of volunteering.”
Craigslea now during Year 8 induction let students and parents know about the Active Volunteering program. From a public relations point of view Craigslea’s community reputation has increased and community groups are seeking out future student volunteering programs as a result.
Jabiru and Bracken Ridge High School
REAP is run through a partnership with Jabiru and Bracken Ridge High School and offers a program for young people, years 10-12, who have either been excluded from mainstream school and/or school refusers.
This program provides an alternative learning opportunity for students to succeed in working towards their senior Qld Certificate of Education (QCE) and more importantly provide life and workplace learning opportunities.
In the third term students chose to participate in a voluntary capacity at a local school. Working with the schools staff they identified that:
- most of the students came from disadvantaged backgrounds;
- the school did not have an active tuckshop;
- 10% did not bring any food to school;
- almost half came to school without adequate healthy food;
- only 3% came with fruit.
The REAP students started making lunches for all students each Friday and sat with the kids at lunch time talking about healthy food. Following REAP vs Students activities of soccer, touch football, running and tug of war would be played.
Reflections from the Jabiru Teacher, David Poulus, was that he witnessed each REAP student mature through the process. "Once they got through the school gates they were responsible role models and each realised they could do something useful and rewarding."
Two REAP students now want to gain more skills in catering and two others plan to work in childcare.