As part of Student Volunteer Week, August 3-9, MercyCare is shining a light on the many students’ selflessly volunteering their time to work with our programs and services.
More than 50 Mercedes College and Santa Maria students have given up their school holidays to volunteer with MercyCare, as part of our popular MercyCare Schools Program.
The theme of Student Volunteer Week is “challenge, change and celebrate”, to help students realise not only how much of a difference they can make, but changing the way they volunteer, to be more creative and genuine in the way they can help and move others.
MercyCare Schools Liaison and Volunteers Officer Louise Mason said 144 students have volunteered more than 1630 hours with MercyCare so far this year, spending time in a variety of roles in the organisation’s Early Learning Centres, respite care and day centres for seniors.
“We’ve had a hugely positive response from schools since we launched the MercyCare Schools Program about 12 months ago,” she said.
“It’s a mutually beneficial program – the elderly residents and young children that the students spend time with really love it. The students are vibrant and enthusiastic, always willing to assist staff and clients; but also from the students’ perspective, the feedback we’ve had is fantastic.
“Volunteering helps introduce the students to new experiences outside their own environment, and they get to enjoy the rewards of knowing they’ve made a difference in other people’s lives.”
The students take part in a variety of activities with children and seniors at MercyCare’s Early Learning Centres and aged care services.
“In aged care and the day centres the students visit residents for a chat, or to help them use their iPads; they assist with decoration-making for events, daily activities such as bingo, concerts and exercise sessions, and help with reading the paper, doing crafts and crossword puzzles,” Louise said.
“At the Early Learning Centres, the students play with the children and help at meal time, they take part in art activities, sing and help supervise in the playground.”
MercyCare Chief Executive Officer Chis Hall said the School Volunteer Program helps high school students stay connected with the community to help those most in need.
“The aim of our MercyCare Schools Program is to help introduce high school students to volunteering,” he said.
“Sometimes young people might perceive volunteering to be a challenge, but the MercyCare Schools Program helps to break down those barriers and show students how enjoyable and personally rewarding it can be when you’re having a positive impact on your community.”
For more information about volunteering with MercyCare, please call 9442 3444.