Affirming the traditional commitment of the Servite Order to the charism of ‘Service’, Servite College offers a variety of immersive learning experiences for young people to step outside their comfort zone and get involved in their local community.
The Christian Service Learning program at Servite encourages young people to contribute to the development of ‘the kind of world envisaged by Christ’.
Director of Ministry at Servite College, Ryan Wiles, recently spoke with The Record about the program.
“2019 is the Year of Justice for Servite College,” he said.
“Justice with our neighbour calls us to respect the rights of each person and to establish harmonious relationships that promote the common good of society and fairness for all people.”
At Servite, all students in Year 7 to Year 11 participate in Christian Service Learning. Students complete a process of planning, experience and reflection that includes service in support of people in need.
Offering personalised learning opportunities for students to understand the dignity of others, especially those at the margins of society, this approach to social justice education has a practical focus on real-world service projects.
“Our vision for Ministry at Servite is ‘Faith in Action’ and this forms the basis for all our justice education, including our Christian Service Learning program,” Mr Wiles said.
“For our students, it’s about encountering Christ through others and starting to understand the disadvantages of different people within our community.”
The program is rapidly expanding, regularly offering more choices for students to pursue causes and projects they are passionate about.
The College now provides students in Year 10 and 11 with two distinct Christian Service Learning pathways, both formally recognised and contributing towards their WACE.
A new Certificate II in Active Volunteering program enables students to gain a nationally recognised qualification, plus experience working with industry partners in youth ministry and social justice advocacy.
The College has also expanded its range of endorsed unit offerings for students who choose this pathway. Students may now select from 14 different projects raising awareness and funds in support of organisations such as Caritas, Catholic Mission, LifeLink and the St Vincent de Paul Society.
From completing the Operation XLR8 obstacle course or the HBF Run for a Reason fun run, to launching a pop-up student operated café on campus, student engagement with their projects is strong.
Commencing earlier this month, a group of Year 11 students launched an initiative to prepare and serve meals to people experiencing homelessness as part of the ‘Homelessness: We Care’ project on site at Wellington St Park in the Perth CBD.
Year 11 student Marco Acciari said he was surprised by how many homeless people were present.
“I really enjoyed meeting these people and especially having a conversation with some of them. I learned that there is a whole new world out there and we as privileged people should not take everyday tasks for granted.”
Assistant Deputy Principal – Service and Justice Education, Chris Callus, said the program is helping to reconnect young people to the Church, and to Servite charisms.
“Our students see the impact of Catholic social justice agencies up close,” Mr Callus said.
“They understand the relevance of core College values of ‘Service’, ‘Community’ and ‘Justice’ to the lives of those of those experiencing challenging situations, as well as their own lives”.
Mr Wiles concluded by adding, “The whole idea is for our students to develop as young leaders within their community, who know not only why they need to make difference, but how.”