From the Principal
From the Principal 2019– Term 2, Week 5
For this week’s newsletter and in keeping with the official launch of the TSAC Service Caravan Project, I have asked Graham Swinton, Director of Student Activities and who oversees our Service program, to update you on our program.
As you will no doubt know from previous communication, Service is an activity that we consider central to both our Anglican mission and to developing in young people an understanding of their privileged position in society and their responsibility to give back.
The following text from Graham provides context for the Service Caravan Project, which I have outlined at the bottom of this article. Service Learning is a well-researched and documented area, and the following is based on findings such as those found at http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/194167/chapters/The-Purpose-and-Goals-of-Service-Learning.aspx
‘If service learning did nothing more than fulfil youth’s need to be recognized as contributing citizens, its existence would be justified.’ David L. Manning National Commission on Youth
Service-learning objectives as described by Witmer & Anderson (2004) are very much like the goals established by all successful schools. The following are service-learning objectives that we have established for our program:
• Intellectual development
• Basic skill acquisition
• Moral and ethical development
• Social and civil responsibility
• Career preparation
• Multicultural understanding
• Personal growth
Community service learning as a philosophy is largely driven by enthusiastic staff, however, charitable organisations, politicians and government agencies have been promoting these kinds of programs that use service opportunities as a source of significant learning (Anderson and Witmer 1997).
The Springfield Anglican College has adopted a Service Learning program that:
• Provides powerful learning experiences inside and outside of the classroom.
• Emphasizes spiritual nourishment, social justice, leadership, physical activity, creativity and global citizenship.
• Ensures every student knows and understands the value of teamwork, fair play, resilience and perseverance.
• Operates on local, national and global levels.
It is common place for adults to lament the idleness of youth and often we blame the rise in popularity of personal devices for the falling standards of manners in today’s society. Service-Learning Programs are the key to turning this around. Offering young people the opportunity to be responsible, caring, participating members of society, service is an excellent antidote for those students with a tendency to idleness. Indeed, rather than prolonging their dependence on adults, undermining self-esteem and crippling their capacity to care, schools with healthy service programs can empower their students to succeed. Research has shown (Konrath et al 2012) that service can significantly enhance a person’s well-being and can have lasting effects up to four years later. We can also use our service programs to augment our Anglican foundations by exemplifying to the students the very nature of servant leadership which is a philosophy, and set of practices, that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organisations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.
Service learning is grounded in experiential learning, it does however differ from pure experiential learning in two fundamental ways:
1. The goal of service learning is to direct the learners into practical settings where the primary motivation is service.
2. Learning takes place in two ways, as students take part in the experience and as they reflect upon what happened during the experience.
Evidence of Service-Learning Benefits
Several researchers, Eyler & Giles (1999), Astin et al. (2000), and Eyler et al. (2001) have documented the benefits of service to students and to a lesser extent faculty and community members. Service-learning improves student learning outcomes and contributes to student personal and social development. The Faculties in the studies report enhanced teaching, service, and research opportunities, and academic institutions report increased student retention and improved relationships with their local communities.
Our Current Service Programs
The following is a description of our current service methods, including how our new Service Caravan Project will be developed, a proposed timeline of events, and reasons for why we suggest developing the project.
1. COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
The purpose of giving service awards to TSAC students is to identify and recognize those students who give of their time and talent to help others without receiving financial compensation and thereby to encourage other students to give service as well.
II. Description of Awards Process:
Service credit will be given for any approved activity involving service to a school or community. Those service activities, which result in the receipt of financial compensation or is part of the normal expectations of a TSAC student are not eligible to receive service credit.
Students in all grades should report their service hours in their diary. Students who have a total of the following hours in a given school year (Jan 1, 2019 – Nov 30, 2019) will receive a Service Award.
24-35 Hours: Bronze Pocket
36-48 Hours: Silver Pocket
48 Hours or more: Gold Pocket
For more details on the Community Service Logbook please look at the College diary starting from page 13 which has a helpful guide explaining what does and does not count as service hours.
2. SERVICE ACTIVITY WEEK
For 2019 we are again organising 2 days of service activities that the entire Secondary Campus will take part in. Typical activates will include
• Building micro bat boxes.
• Working with Uniting Care and visiting Age Care Facilities (ACFs).
• Working with Anglicare’s EM Tooth ACF.
• Planting 1800 trees with Ipswich City Council’s “Green Army”.
• Packing 2000 care packages for City Hope.
For the first time in 2019, we will also have Service Days in Activities Week on the Primary Campus, where students will be engaged in fund raising and service to the environment with a planting and sustainability program.
3. HOMELESS IMMERSION NIGHT
In order to experience firsthand what it is like not to have a roof over your head at night, we will again organize a homeless immersion night:
• An entire year group will take part in this activity which will take place on the College grounds overnight.
• An introductory talk from the Rosie’s Friends on the Street to highlight the plight of youth homelessness in Brisbane region.
• Students will be issued with one blanket for the night.
• There will be sanctioned sleeping areas for groups, but there will be more groups that stations.
• Every two hours the groups will be “moved on” by the Police.
• A soup van will visit late at night as the only source of food for the night.
• BBQ breakfast + reflection on activity.
4. SOCIAL JUSTICE GROUP
Led by Chaplain Erika, this group are looking to help charities in the local Springfield area. Projects for 2019 include Rosie’s – Friends of the Street. The students involved will volunteer 2-4 hours a fortnight with the charity supervised by Chaplain Erika, who will then also lead the students in reflection. They visit homeless clients of Rosie’s in the Ipswich area, to date we have had 4 visits involving 12 students and 8 staff.
5. SERVICE EXPEDITION
A biannual service expedition to Lomani Au Children’s Home in Fiji to be launched in 2019 for a 2020 excursion. Students will be involved in a variety of community building exercises which may be as varied as teaching in classrooms to building amenities for the orphanage.
I thank Mr Swinton for his excellent oversight of this Service Program, which is now fully embedded into our College behaviours.
As an additional service component, I am also now delighted to be able to announce to the community our Service Caravan Project.
Conceived by Business Manager Jackie McComb, in 2018 the College embarked on a project to create a sustainable model of creating service opportunities.
Mike King, Year 12 Coordinator, sourced a ragged old caravan which was in the autumn of its life and has, in the 6 months that followed and with the help of volunteering students, staff and parent helpers, transformed the old wreck into a beautiful retro caravan fitted with the food preparation areas, a coffee machine and a BBQ. This part of the project alone is something highly notable, providing service and creativity opportunities for a large group who put in enormous hours to realise the restoration dream.
Now almost ready to hit the road, the TSAC Service Caravan will be used for two purposes:
1. Fund-raising. Each Saturday home sports fixtures, the Caravan will be used to sell a variety of delicious food stuffs, and coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cold drinks. This will be a fabulous community building aspect of the caravan’s life, but with a real purpose of creating profit which we can then use to achieve our primary objective:
2. Serving the poor. Partnering with Rosie’s, Uniting Care, City Hope, Anglicare and Ipswich City Council, we will embark on a program of serving food and drinks to the homeless and in need.
I am very excited about this project, and am confident that you will share my pride in the difference that our community can play in serving those less fortunate than ourselves. As per Graham’s words above, this also creates a profound learning experience for our students who will be provided with opportunity to give back.
I am very proud of our Service Program, and thank Graham Swinton for his coordination of it and Rev Erika for her significant role. I would also like to thank too, staff members Jackie McComb, Mike King, Wayne Clarke, Jeff Coleman, Jade Parker, Rebecca Newman and Maitua Feterika, community members Jake Dale, the Moreton brothers, Jonica Williamson, Garry Hogarth and Ross Wohling, and students Jack Aislabe, Ishan Patel, Zack Watkins, Jack Hogrefe, Lachlan Corta, Lachlan Seaward and Jarrad Wrigley for their roles in bringing the caravan to life.