2018/19 Service Project: Connect our Community
When Connect our Community was launched in Term 4 last year I hoped the project would allow us to hear the stories of individual members of our Sydney community, and that we might be able to grow in our ability to see past the symptoms of poverty and disadvantage, recognising the beautiful and unique people who make up our diverse local community.
Currently there are approximately 15% of Sydneysiders living below the poverty line, which amounts to approximately 800,000 people who are unable to provide food and financial security for themselves and their families.
In Term 4 last year we shared the joy of Christmas time with those in need, collecting food and toys to create Christmas hampers for Anglicare's Toys 'n' Tucker program. We ended up filling 68 boxes with food and toys, which were distributed from Anglicare's warehouse in Villawood to families doing it tough around Sydney. The Service Council even had an opportunity to go on site in Villawood and help sort and categorise the toys and food ready for distribution.
In Term 1, we heard the stories of children like Anastasia, who often finds herself overwhelmed by her mother's battle with cancer, being able to express herself through her singing and writing her own music. We 'Played it Forward' through our second-hand instrument drive, with our donations being distributed to schools in disadvantaged areas of NSW, to help foster music programs for primary school students.
And our final focus last term was based on the amazing work done by Anglicare's Mobile Community Pantries. We were able to walk in the shoes of Tom, Rani or Omar and Adela, and to empathise with the challenges they face trying to make ends meet in their weekly budget. We collected a tonne of grocery items to stock a Mobile Community Pantry and we even had a Mobile Pantry Van come to visit us here at school.
Through our variety of service initiatives, sharing our time and resource, and the many stories shared, I hope you have all been able to connect meaningfully with members of our local community right here in Sydney.
I would like to take this opportunity to say some thank you to people without whom, such a wonderful year of service would not have been possible.:
Thank you to:
- Rev Stoddart for all her wisdom and support during our work with Toys 'n' Tucker.
- Mrs Ware, thank you for being my rock throughout this whole year of leadership. Thank you for all your encouragement and guidance throughout the project.
- To my lovely Service Council, thank you for all your help in running activities and brainstorming initiatives.
- Satara (Uthayakumaran), I know is going to do a fabulous job of inspiring and leading you in all in service learning next term, and I really look forward to seeing the difference you are able to make.
And, most importantly thank you to all of you for coming on this service learning journey with me, getting behind 'Connect our Community' and making a really meaningful difference to the lives of so many in our Sydney community.