The tradition and deep commitment to social justice and service learning at Camberwell Girls has been evident since the School’s inception in 1920.
This is guided by our vision to be a leader and innovator in the education of girls, dedicated to fostering a passion for learning and building a more just and sustainable world and is framed by our school motto, Utilis in Ministerium (Usefulness in Service), which is grounded in an Anglican Christian worldview. Our motto was chosen by The Reverend James Schofield, the second Vicar of St Marks and Chairman of our Council for 18 years.
During 2016 we undertook a review of our Social Justice program to document the key initiatives of the last 10 years, reviewed the existing aims and structure of the program and assessed whether they meet the goals outlined in the current strategic plan. It was also an important time to benchmark our programs against those conducted by other schools nationally. Mr Brett Stout and Mrs Liss Campbell, supported by other staff undertook the review and made a number of recommendations to refine our focus of the program.
In addition to recommending that we should continue to respond to service learning and social justice using the Christian tradition of the school and its Vision, Mission and Values, the report also recommended that our actions should move from a charity focus to more of a learning relationship. In this context we also feel that it is more accurate to call our programs Service Learning programs rather than Social Justice Programs.
In the overview of our new Service Learning Framework, Mrs Liss Campbell, our new Head of Service Learning highlights that Service Learning begins with two premises. One is about the nature of the person and the other the nature of power. When we look at the nature of the person we know that a person is inseparable from community and when service happens in community and for community, both the community and the person are transformed.
Similarly when looking at the nature of power it is important to understand that every human exchange or encounter is framed within a dynamic of power. Poverty is not just about the absence of shelter, food, health, water and work, but more about the absence of power to do anything about it. In this light, power is at the centre of service through the empowerment of others and the community in which we exist.
Mrs Campbell concludes that Service is about being human with others in a way that enriches the other’s humanity; it is flourishing that leads to the flourishing of others. Service must always increase the freedom, the autonomy, the dignity and the power of those being served.
Our new CGGS Service Model is comprised of four strands:
Strand 1: Local Community Service
Strand 2: Service to Indigenous Australians
Strand 3: Global Service
Strand 4: Environmental Stewardship
In addition to co-curricular opportunities for student engagement, some of these strands are also linked to the curriculum. Strand 1 links with the Year 9 Service Learning curriculum with a focus on local disadvantage, especially Youth Homelessness. Year 8 Service Learning curriculum is focused on Indigenous Australians and is linked to Strand 2. In Strand 3, the Year 10 Learning curriculum is focused on global issues for women, with a particular emphasis on Cambodia through our relationship with the Green Gecko Project. Environment Stewardship (Strand 4) forming part of the Year 7 curriculum and a number of co-curricular activities.
We are very proud of our relationships with a number of key organisations where Camberwell Girls are able to contribute in a meaningful way to their projects. Through the River Nile Learning Centre, Dream Stitches, the Salvation Army, Hedley Sutton Aged Care, Ladder and The Green Gecko Project we are privileged to learn with those we serve.
Our girls also have incredible opportunities to engage with the community through events such as the Winter Sleep-out, Relay for Life, Pink Ribbon Day, Project 10, Cold Day, Reconciliation Week and the Anglicare Winter Warmth Appeal.
In serving others we learn about our global community and ourselves through commitment to our values through action. We are clearly guided by the CGGS framework in establishing and building long lasting connections with others and honouring the most Christian ideal of service.
With best wishes,