The Value of Service – Jennifer Oaten Principal
This week I have been reflecting on the value and benefit of Santa Maria College’s service program. I believe that if we help educate our girls to be the leaders of the future, they can then address the root causes of all injustice.
Catherine McAuley connected the rich to the poor, using her background and connections with people of influence, to assist those in need. She did not just give money and goods; she also empowered those who were powerless and promoted human dignity.
Through education and skills training she empowered people, particularly women, to become agents of their own change.
Catherine is a great role model for our girls and has demonstrated how one person’s service to others can change the lives of so many.
Benefits of Service
Our service program provides many benefits to our girls and here are four I would like to mention:
- It helps develop an increased sense of social responsibility and provides the girls with a global view of society and also a heart for ‘giving back’ and helping others.
- Provides an opportunity to connect learning to life.
- Builds relationships and ‘social connectedness’ with peers and adults and exposes them to diversity and multiculturalism.
- Can help girls to find their passions and interests that may lead to a career choice they may not have previously considered.
Our girls are a valuable source of energy, goodwill and creativity; they are also the key to future change in our society. In a culture that is so focussed on self and material goods, it is easy for our teenagers to grow up without a sense of gratitude for what they have. Service helps our girls develop empathy, leadership, communication skills, dependability, time management, and decision-making skills. All valuable skills for the future.
Our Service Captain, Stephanie Tory plays a key role in coordinating many of the service activities along with Liz Van der Zanden, our Service Coordinator.
Service Groups Offered
The service groups offered at the College include:
- Christian Service (Altar Serving, Chapel Choir, Eucharistic Minister)
- Young Vinnies/ Mini Vinnies (advocate and raise awareness for community groups, for example, refugees)
- Young Mercies (Cook-ups, Aged Care, Mak-ing a Difference, Uthando dolls)
- Eco Sisters/ Junior Sprouts (environmental groups)
- Social Justice Groups (Just leadership, Seeds of Justice, YARN)
One of the greatest strengths of the College is our commitment to service and the number of girls who go beyond what is required. Service is embedded in our culture, and I am so proud to see our alumni continuing to contribute to helping others and working toward changing injustices.