Give a little – change a lot was the theme for National Volunteer Week this past week.
At Saints our volunteers give a lot and change masses. This was the theme of the Volunteer Thank you Event held on Wednesday 24 May in Athelney House. An evening hosted by Mr Tim Browning, Headmaster to recognise the myriad of support and precious time that our volunteers offer the School.
Each year over 220 volunteers give in excess of 10,000 hours ranging from activities such as preserving the School’s history, listening to boys read, hosting fundraising activities, helping to cater for hungry boys at sporting events, coaching, umpiring and driving. The list is endless.
To a packed room of more than 60 guests, Tim Browning thanked our volunteers.
“A School like ours does not run without the goodwill and the heavy shoulder to the wheel from the community. We can run operationally but we do not advance, and we do not make an impact on the lives of our students without the help and assistance of every person in that community. So thank you for the partnership.”
Mr Browning went on to say, “Together with our boys, our staff, our parents and wider stakeholders, we can continue to create a virtuous circle around the educational mission of Saints.”
This circle of giving brings much to the School: skills, advice, experience, friendship, vision, leadership and inspiration. This could not have been made more evident than listening to two Year 7 students, Sebastian Masullo and Will Osborn. The boys shared their personal stories of tackling a learning difficulty with the help of Learning Assistance Program (LAP) volunteers, with the audience of parents, staff, old scholars, Foundation and Council members.
Sebastian Masullo (Year 7) said “Although the journey with dyslexia never ends, doing programs like LAP gives me the confidence and the will to never give up. The volunteers at the School are truly respected. No matter which volunteer I had at my LAP session, that volunteer gave me the same dedication and commitment and always believed in me”.
Will Osborn (Year 7) explained, “when someone asks me what I got from the LAP program, I say with pride that it’s more than just extra learning – it is more than ways to remember how to spell or write properly. It was a space where people help each other. In other words, it’s a love of learning community.”
Their remarkable poise, confidence and articulate manner captivated the room. So impressed were the guests that some shed a tear of joy and gratitude.
The gifting of time also occurs with our co-curricular and sporting programs. The School benefits greatly from parents willing to assist. Tim Hennessy, Director of Rowing shared with guests the sense of community that developed in the rowing program this year, resulting in a record number of volunteers who fundraised, held BBQs, distributed communication, provided support and advice to other parents, and carpooled. He said “we simply couldn’t have delivered an effective program without the contribution of volunteers”.
Tim Browning concluded the evening celebrating the contribution of volunteers across the School in supporting our goal to have all boys find a “home that is of great interest to them and space all of them to flourish – whether that is in music, debating, drama, sporting or particular subject.” It is because of such partnerships that we continue to achieve this goal.
A heartfelt thank you to all our wonderful volunteers.