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The Joy of Giving Back

The Joy of Giving Back

Bridget Davis, Bianca D’Ortona, Shay Bastiani, Olivia Lloyd (absent)

There is much joy to be found in giving of your time to others. Since the beginning of the year, four students from the Class of 2019 have regularly returned to the College to give their time assisting me with various tasks. From helping to collate and sort booklets for Opening Mass, to the mammoth tasks of preparing for the Year 12 Retreat, Olivia Lloyd, Bridget Davis, Bianca D’Ortona and Shay Bastiani’s generosity knows no end.

What have you been doing and why do you keep returning to Santa Maria?  

I asked the girls about the jobs they’ve been doing and why they keep returning to the College.

“There has been lots of labelling, cutting, sorting, organising and compiling. Even getting rid of resources that were outdated or no longer needed. Two of us also drove with Mrs Landers to one of the retreat venues in Bullsbrook the day before Retreat to assist with the set-up, as there was so much to do.  It was all fun and we had lots of laughs, wonderful conversations and either learnt new skills or developed those we had. We didn’t think of it as work. It was so much fun coming back to the College, seeing our teachers and helping out. Together we have given hundreds of hours this year, but it feels like no time at all.

What have you learnt?

I asked the girls what they had learnt or gained from these service opportunities and their answers were no surprise. Having worked with all four of these young women in either the service or mission field, I knew they were always eager to assist in any way they could. Three of the girls also accompanied me on the Cambodia Immersion at the end of last year. So firm relationships with the students had been established.

“We love coming back to the College because we always feel special that we have been personally invited by Mrs Landers. A special invitation makes us feel valued and it is also a wonderful opportunity for us to catch up with each other and see some of our teachers.”

“Coming back to the College is almost like coming home, and we love that we have kept our connection, not only with each other but with the College.”

“Service doesn’t stop once you leave school. It’s a way of life. It also keeps our relationships going and we feel we are now developing a special bond with the College after school.

“We feel privileged to be called upon to use our skills to assist with the smooth running of a program or event. Whether we are putting booklets together, problem-solving or coming up with creative ideas to enhance a program, we are able to do something for our College community we still feel so much a part of.”

I also asked the girls what they thought of all the tasks they were required to do?  

“We really had no idea how much work was involved behind-the-scenes in putting together something like the Retreat. We got to enjoy so many experiences when we were at the College without actually understanding how much work goes into the success of the program or event. We now have a greater understanding and appreciation for all that was done for us and we feel even more committed to giving back through our service as a way of saying thank you.”

Year 12 Retreat

The girls spent a lot of time helping me prepare for the Year 12 retreat and I wanted to know what they thought of the Retreat Program and why they worked so hard with me to make this one special for our Year 12s

‘Our Retreat Program was so worthwhile we wanted the current Year 12s to experience what we had, especially as it has been an extremely stressful year for them.”

“We understood that this year was different and saw how hard Mrs Landers worked to pull off the event. We wanted to assist in any way we could to ensure the Year 12 students didn’t miss out on what we still recall as our most wonderful experience of Year 12. We really value the retreat program, and we knew how much the Year 12s would gain from the experience.  

Message for current Year 12 students

I asked the girls if they had a message for the current Year 12 students about the value of giving back to the community?

“We want the students to know that there is so much joy in giving, we feel so content when we leave, eager for the next invitation to assist. “We don’t get paid and we don’t expect it either. In fact, we have told Mrs landers that we will be very angry if she attempts to give us any gifts or remuneration. We just love giving back because we have so much to be grateful for. We love that we continue to feel connected and valued by our past teachers and mentors and we know we still have so much to learn from them.

“We also find that we constantly learn new life skills, from problem solving, to using our initiative. The time spent together also forges stronger friendship bonds we will continue to nurture. As long as our help is needed and as long as we are available, we will continue to offer our time. Once you leave school, we encourage you to forward your details to Mrs Landers and offer your services in any way you can. The joy you will get from giving will far outweigh the tasks you have to complete.

“Mrs Landers is special to us, as we have built this relationship with her during our time at the College. We love learning from her as she challenges us all the time to be creative and manage problems as they arise. We have learnt to be more creative, innovative and resilient. These are life skills that will set us up for the future.”

Jillian Landers | Head of Mission

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