by Sally Sandford-Morgan
Next year Endeavour College will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Since its humble beginnings, serving others has always been a highly valued activity. Connections with other Lutheran organisations are greatly appreciated and our link with Lutheran Community Care (LCC) gives our students the chance to step outside their comfort zone to help others.
LCC at Ingle Farm is located within the local primary school. This means they can provide a range of support services to families from both within and outside of the school community. One of their projects involves Year 9 students from Endeavour College and some students from Ingle Farm Primary School working on activities together. This is the second year the program has been run and it has been greatly enjoyed by all the participants.
Diana, one of our Endeavour students, has said about her experience: ‘The children we helped to cook have learning disabilities, but they enjoy the time away from class and that it is a way for them to take their minds off things’.
The program was started last year as an alternative to voluntary participation in sporting teams on Tuesday afternoons. It was originally anticipated that a team of six to eight students would visit LCC once a fortnight, but after a larger-than-expected response two teams were established and they participate in the program in alternating weeks. Students are committed to being part of the service team for the duration of the term.
Students in the Special Needs class at Ingle Farm Primary are unable to participate in some events, such as excursions. A staff member said, ‘Many of them prefer not to access the playground area at recess and lunchtime due to their lack of confidence. But one time each week they are able to participate in an activity where they feel special, and they really look forward to it. If they arrive and the Endeavour students aren’t there yet, they are very disappointed, as they think the older students aren’t coming at all. But when they do arrive, excitement takes over, their faces light up and they have an enjoyable time.’
The activities are coordinated and organised by the staff and volunteers at LCC. These vary on a weekly basis but often include a cooking and/or craft component. Students from both schools work together to complete tasks.
‘Seeing the rest of the service team working with the kids and the way they talked to them was really cool to watch’, said Meaghan, one of our Endeavour students. ‘It made me realise that even small things such as talking can make a huge difference.
‘The more the kids got to know us, the more comfortable they became and they were excited to tell us about what they have been doing. Cooking with them has helped me to be a patient person, as the kids did not always know what to do with different steps in the cooking process.’
For me, the most satisfying thing about this project is the knowledge that our students are becoming more understanding of people outside their usual circle of experience. At the same time they are learning about part of an organisation that they might contribute to as volunteers or employees in the future.
Sally Sandford-Morgan is Service Learning Leader at Endeavour College, Mawson Lakes, South Australia.