During this project, the students have developed a sense of empathy and community spirit. When we first started the group was completely stuck on who a volunteer was. They knew what a volunteer was, but struggle to determine who they actually were. It was great to break this down with them and actually highlight and acknowledge these wonderful everyday people that are within our community.
Our journey has led us to two different projects. Our first project was brought to our attention from a member of the class, whose rugby team was playing a home game one weekend, and as a member of their team tackled an opposition player he ended up landing in rather fresh dog droppings! This resulted in a very stinky shirt, a change of clothes being needed and some really frustrated players and family, as this is known to happen on numerous occasions. The students also noted that this is not the only problem, in fact, there is a real litter problem. To confirm all this and have suitable evidence we went over and carried out a survey on the grounds. What we found was extremely surprising; 342 pieces of rubbish, and alarming 92 animal droppings. What was worse was that a lot of this rubbish was observed to be very near rubbish bins (which were under half full). From all of these findings, we have compiled a list of things we would like to see in the park – signs up near rubbish bins, dog dropping stations (with an area for dog waste, and plastic bags provided and potentially a water fountain for them). We have put these options into a letter and sent it to our district council. We are still waiting to hear back and hopefully help to beautify our park.
Our second project has come about following our link with the local kindergartens and also having a retirement village, only a block up the road. We have decided that we would like to volunteer our time in helping these communities. We have been working hard to determine ways we are going to be of help – through working out our skills and attributes that might be of benefit and contacting both centres to see what they would appreciate. From this, we have been practising some recipes that we are hoping to go and teach to both groups, and share with them. We have also been working to develop our coaching skills. We are looking forward to next term, where we are going to be working with these centres for 1-2 hours each week – helping them with their hand-eye coordination, fitness, word skills and many other activities.
While we haven’t got into the nuts and bolts of helping our community yet, we have done a lot of the groundwork and are super excited to get our ‘teeth’ into the project next term, being out and about in our community helping out in a hands-on capacity.