Students Mark Our Mission
Kelly Keall, Community Engagement Coordinator
At Anglicare WA, the work we do naturally incorporates the third and fourth Marks of Mission. Our work on the frontline resonates with the third Mark of Mission. Supporting individuals and families in need sees us ‘responding to human need by loving service’ over a thousand times a week throughout the state.
While these interactions are occurring, we are also working behind the scenes to address the causes of social injustice such as poverty, inequality and homelessness. This aligns with the fourth Mark of Mission which asks that we ‘transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation’.
This is such an integral part of what we do that our recently launched Strategic Plan 2022-25 is titled ‘Tackling Disadvantage’. It’s a bold and audacious title and we believe that a key component to achieving this is mobilising and empowering the amazing communities we work with.
School communities, in particular, are powerful hubs and we are lucky to have the support and partnership of the Anglican school network.
Engagement with students comes in a number of forms with service learning engaging them on a practical level.
It combines their academic studies with hands on experience and community engagement. It links their interest in social justice with the possible solutions to some of society’s most complicated issues.
Over the last year, our service-learning projects had students gardening at our youth homelessness services, making nutritious meal packs for young people in crisis housing and putting together cleaning starter packs for families moving into new accommodation after being displaced due to family violence.
We believe that young people should be heard, and their ideas and voices have the potential to bring about real, long-lasting change. Consistent with this we have talked with students about the importance of advocacy, provided information and skills and created opportunities for them to support us to advocate for systemic change.
Empowering students and school communities to become agents for change means that they are helping to tackle disadvantage when we can’t be there.
By providing them with the practical tools and skills needed to be advocates we can see the change starting to happen.
As well as service-learning projects, a powerful way for students to make a difference is through fundraising and they have made a huge financial contribution this year. Over the last financial year, Anglican school students raised close to $200,000 for Anglicare WA. This is a huge achievement and shows students that when they work together they can have a big impact.
Over the next three years, we will focus on tackling disadvantage by continuing to support, mobilise and empower our passionate school communities. These amazing young people will take up the challenges of the third and fourth Marks of Mission as they walk alongside Anglicare WA to transform the unjust structures of society.