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Christian Service LearningPosted in College Community,Secondary on Friday, 28 February, 2020

As a Catholic school, Christian Service Learning (CSL) is a vital aspect of what Mandurah Catholic College offers, instilling values of love, compassion and social justice in students through service to others.

National and international research data confirms that young people who actively engage in service have an increase in personal and social responsibility as well as communication, educational and social competencies; for example, greater acceptance of cultural diversity , elevated self-esteem and a life-long commitment to justice.

The current CSL program was introduced at the College at the beginning of 2017, with Senior Secondary students required to complete at least 30 hrs of service in the wider community. Remarkably, 100% of Y12s during this time have completed at least 30 hrs of service, with many going well above and beyond that number. The 2019 Y12 cohort completed a remarkable 7,153 service hours from 2017 to the end of term 2 2019.

2019 was an incredibly powerful year for Service Learning at MCC with 64% of Year 12s completing more than the minimum 30 hours. CSL Coordinator Mrs Susan Bentley is thrilled with how the students have been approaching their service. “Some of the most memorable highlights of my 38 years in Catholic Education have occurred when I accompanied students on their Christian Service Learning (CSL) journeys. Having facilitated student and staff immersions in Asian and Pacific nations and developed school service-learning programs in five states, I feel so blessed to witness first-hand the transformative influence of service in young people. It cuts to the very heart of who we are called to be as Catholics, to be Christ-like, to nurture a ‘servant-heart’, to encounter the other.”


One example of the kind of service that our Years 10 to 12 students undertake is the St Damien’s Parish (Dawesville) Sunday luncheon for the elderly. Held monthly, the luncheon is attended by volunteers who cook the meal, set the table, serve the food, converse with the elderly patrons who attend, clear the table and clean the kitchen to finish. The feedback from facilitators has been that students not only contribute greatly to those in need, but benefit from the work they do, gaining an insight into a marginalised group in the community.

The benefits to the students volunteering their time, although not the primary reason for volunteering, extend beyond a ‘good feeling’. Mrs Susan Bentley suggested, “The program offers our students an opportunity to make positive life choices. It empowers them, within a Catholic context, to be agents of change and offers them an insight into the needs of others.”

2019 College Head Girl, Jamie-Anne Madigan is an example of a student who fully embraced CSL while at school and beyond. We have just heard that Jamie-Anne has been nominated for the Catholic Education Young Leadership Award in this year’s WA Young Achiever Awards for her outstanding contribution to service in the wider community. She was nominated alongside two other young women from the Peel region, including MCC graduate Jessica Fenton. This is a wonderful indication that Christian Service Learning is impactful on the development of our young people; the impacts on the student and the community extend far beyond the students’ time at the College.

The College is always looking for opportunities that may be extended to students looking to complete their Christian Service Learning. To offer a Mandurah Catholic College student a service opportunity, please email Coordinator of Christian Service Learning Mrs Susan Bentley here.