The Transformative Power
of Service Learning
Kelly Keall, Community Engagement Manager
At Anglicare WA, we are lucky to have the unwavering support of the Anglican schools. Their students support our advocacy work, fundraise for us, and provide practical support in the form of service learning.
Service learning, deeply rooted in the principles of Anglicanism, offers a transformative experience for students, shaping their character, fostering compassion, and nurturing a keen sense of responsibility towards their communities. By engaging in acts of service and integrating them with their academic studies, students embark on a journey of personal growth and spiritual development. This unique approach not only benefits the individuals involved but also has a profound impact on the world around them.
At the heart of Anglicanism lies the belief in the inherent dignity and worth of every human being. As required by the third mark of mission, to respond to human need by loving service, service learning encourages young people to actively engage in the betterment of their communities. By immersing themselves in service activities, students gain a firsthand understanding of the challenges faced by others, fostering empathy and compassion. This direct experience fosters a deep appreciation for the diversity of human experiences and helps teenagers develop a broader perspective on the world.
Many students thrive when they take their learning experiences outside of the traditional classroom. By actively participating in projects that address social issues, teenagers learn to take ownership of the problems they encounter and seek creative solutions. In addition, actively making a positive difference in the world, however small, can have a beneficial impact on mental health.
Service learning offers invaluable opportunities for teenagers to develop essential life skills. By engaging in service projects, students learn the importance of teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. They work alongside their peers and mentors, collaborating to address community needs. These experiences not only build character but also equip teenagers with the practical skills necessary to navigate an increasingly interconnected and complex world.
The schools we partner with are respectful and creative in their endeavours. Students are encouraged to ask, ‘What is needed or wanted?’ rather than assuming what should be done to help. It is up to the individuals and communities we serve to tell us how we can support them. It is not up to us to assume what they need or want. This respectful approach is at the heart of the service learning undertaken at Anglicare WA.
Based on this premise, in the last year students have supported our services with a range of service-learning projects such as making meals, gardening, hanging Christmas lights and packing school backpacks. We are grateful for the energy, passion, and fresh perspectives these young people bring to projects as they put their faith into action.