By Amanda Murthy
Staff of Seton Catholic College (SCC) spent a day using their skills, time and talents to demonstrate generosity through action at the Seton Staff Community Service Day, held on Monday 22 July.
The group of 140 teaching and administrative staff signed up for voluntary community work for the day.
They worked with organisations namely The Shopfront, St Pat’s, Foley Village Aged Care but also Aegis Aged Care, Friends of Samson Park River, The Salvation Army, Beach Clean-up, Red Cross Blood Donation, Rottnest Island Authority Beach Clean-up, Fremantle Beach Clean-up and Tiny Sparks.
SCC Community Relations Manager Sarah Robey confirmed that some of the staff participated in Busy Bees at various Perth Archdiocesan parishes.
Volunteers completed tasks including providing Information Technology help at aged care facilities, donating blood, cooking food for disadvantaged members of the community, maintenance and gardening for non-profit organisations, providing company for the elderly and sewing clothing items for premature babies.
Event organiser, SCC Deputy of Ministry and Staffing Joanne Smith, said the Community Service Day was a “huge success”, serving as an opportunity for the college staff to do something for the benefit of others or for the good of the environment, while gaining a sense of personal satisfaction in genuinely giving time to help others.
“Staff embraced the ideology, many participated in an activity that was transformative,” Joanne stated.
“For some it triggered a desire to continue to volunteer and work with and for, those in our society who have less or are not as privileged.”
Lisa Claffey, who works the Educational Support Unit, participated in a beach clean-up from Coogee Beach to South Beach said the event was a great way to learn more about her colleagues while helping the environment.
“I really enjoyed it because not only was I able to help clean up the environment but it gave me the chance to mix with other teaching staff who I only see now and again and say hello to,” Lisa said.
“Now I know their names and feel when we see them in the staff room, I feel better to approach them and strike a conversation.”
Phillipa Spence, also from Seton’s Education Support Unit, echoed similar sentiments, adding that it was nice to be able to do her part for the environment and local community.
“We walked along a section of Fremantle beach collecting rubbish, we got to know each other better, chatting along the way, while enjoying the lovely fresh air and sunshine which was made for an amazing day,” Phillipa cited.
SCC Personal Assistant to the Principal Alena Mera worked with other Seton staff at the St Vincent de Paul State Distribution Centre in Canning Vale said that despite the aching backs and sweaty palms from sorting over 4.5 tonnes of donated clothing, it was a fulfilling feeling to be able to give back to an organisation that does so much to tackle the issues of homelessness and mental health, as well as provide support to disadvantaged youth, refugees and migrants within the local community.
SCC Humanities and Social Science teacher Marie Sadler volunteered with a group who cooked more than 200 meals for the Salvation Army.
“It was great to be able to give back to people who are less fortunate in the community,” Marie stated.
Working with organisations, such as the Salvation Army, fostered a greater appreciation for the problems that exist on our doorsteps.
The added benefit of the activity was it help develop a greater sense of belong in our own community and is definitely something we want to repeat,” she added.
Joanne added that the event received positive feedback from both the staff as well as the community organisations that the college worked with; adding that the she hopes the Staff Community Service Day will be a new tradition of the college for many years to come.
“The response from the community was really heart-warming – the general public were really interested in what we were doing. In one instance two members of the public stopped to ask a river clean up group what they were doing.
“When they found out they went on their way and 10 minutes later turned up with rubbish collection bags to help out.
“We have had such positive feedback from both the staff as well as the community organisations we worked with that we will repeat the day again,” she concluded.