Be the light

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Students from Avila College, Mount Waverley, and Mazenod College, Mulgrave.14 December 2021

Our schools offer many opportunities to live out the Catholic values of compassion, love, justice and service. The many student volunteers who participate in social justice and outreach programs find that being of service to others and to the community are important aspects of living out their schools’ motto and vision.

Students from two secondary colleges, Avila College, Mount Waverley, and Mazenod College, Mulgrave, explain why they choose to serve.

At Avila College, students are called to follow in the footsteps of St Teresa of Avila and Nano Nagle, to be hands and feet of Christ, to ‘be the light’ and to minister to others in our community.

‘My proudest achievement was cutting my hair to be made into a wig for cancer patients that had lost their own hair due to chemotherapy’, said Monica. ‘In the process I raised $3,000 for the Variety Hair with Heart foundation.’

For Amelia, singing and performing music at residential aged care facilities are as important to her as they are to the audience. ‘For me, volunteering is an eye-opening experience and the smiles on the faces of the residents are so heartwarming.’

Ebony, who volunteers with a local environment club, recognises that volunteering isn’t always an easy option but it brings its own rewards. ‘At times it can be challenging, but it is such an important thing to do, and I love making a difference in the community and to our environment.’

At Mazenod College, students attempt to follow St Eugene de Mazenod’s example of standing with and serving the most abandoned in our community and beyond.

Rosies Oblate Youth Mission is an outreach program for the homeless in Melbourne, with a focus on being ‘friends on the street’ every Wednesday and Friday night around Flinders Street. Rosies offers people a comfortable and safe environment in which they belong.

Students at the college look forward to being in Year 12 so that they can volunteer at Rosies. All Year 12 students are offered the opportunity to be part of the mission by adding themselves to a volunteer roster for Friday evenings throughout the year.

‘Volunteering gives me a sense of fulfillment that I am contributing to something that is bigger than me and that I am helping others who are less fortunate than I am’, said James. ‘Volunteering at Rosies is a great way that we can practise the lessons taught to us at every weekly Mass and in every Religious Education class.’

‘It’s really all about perspective and about building connections with others which is really fulfilling’, said Anthony. ‘Ensuring that every person feels valued, seen and loved is something that we may often take for granted.’

This article was originally published in the Term 4, 2021 edition of Catholic Education Today.