May we not be concerned about what we lack, but what good we can do for others – Pope Francis, April 2020.
Dear Parents and Friends
The above quote from His Holiness, Pope Francis reminds us all that no matter our own circumstances that we are called to love through the hidden service we do for others. When Jesus washes his disciples’ feet and tells them that:
“if I, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, also you must wash the feet of others”
He is pointing out to us the path we must take if we want to both live our faith in him and bear witness to his love. To serve others, then, means to use and make available the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us in order for our community to grow. To strengthen our Catholic community and bring our students into a closer relationship with God, it is important for our students to understand service.
Touching Hearts is a Christian Service-Learning initiative at La Salle College. The program aims to integrate Catholic Social Teaching through education, action and reflection. It is an integral part of our school community and contributes to the development of students as followers of Jesus Christ (Mandate para. 35) and to follow the example of St John Baptist De La Salle and touch hearts.
Students can participate in the Touching Hearts program by choosing from a range of service projects appropriate to their age and developmental stages. The program provides our students with an opportunity to contribute to the common good, by developing the ability to recognise the dignity of all people and to adopt an attitude of preferential option for the poor and to act for and with those disempowered in society. Programs are run by year group:
- In Year 7 students carry out home-based actions
- In Year 8 service expands to the school community
- In Year 9 students undertake environmental projects with the Keep Australia Beautiful Council, Sea Shepherd and the local City of Swan
- In Year 10 and 11 students can volunteer with a variety of local service agencies
- Year 11 students can choose to participate in ‘5000 Meals’ which is delivered in collaboration with the organisation Prepare Produce Provide.
The 5000 Meals Project contributes towards the formation of the whole person which includes fostering a student’s commitment to the love, compassion and justice of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mandate 6) expressed in solidarity with the poor and victims of injustice. This is the foundation for Christ-centred leadership accessible to all our students.
5000 Meals takes places in the College’s Food and Technology room supervised by teaching staff. Students commit to one afternoon a week over a school term to create nutritious meals for the homeless, using rescued food that might otherwise end up as landfill. Ingredients are sourced from Second Bite and Food Bank and student’s label and freeze the meals they have prepared. Distribution of the meals occurs through a local hospitality ministry where other La Salle students volunteer.
5000 Meals is a Western Australian initiative helping to address food insecurity in Perth communities and is recognised by the United Nations- Global Compact Network (AU) for their sustainable practices. Involvement in the project raises awareness in our students and staff of the significant needs present in their local community. Students have reported a strong sense of personal empowerment in responding to the needs of people living in the local community.
The impact of 5000 Meals is measured by a simple count of meals provided – with 40 meals being prepared each week. The project incorporates ongoing reflection on the development of a diverse range of talents and gifts among students and staff.
Motivated by the Gospel leadership shown by St John Baptist de La Salle, at the conclusion of the project students participate in a reflection for action grounded in Gospel values and Catholic Social Teaching to support them becoming Christ-centred, resilient and innovative contributors to our ever-changing world.
The service provided by our students and staff through the 5000 meals project is inspirational. I am delighted to announce that our 5000 Meals Project was the recipient of a Merit Award in the Catholic Education category at the CEWA QCE Awards ceremony on Friday 15 October 2021. The 2021 QCE Awards recognise programs and initiatives in Catholic schools across Western Australia that support the CEWA vision of providing Christ-centred, student-focused, engaged learning environments. The QCE Awards celebrate the remarkable efforts and dedication of Catholic school communities, staff and students across our state. I would particularly like to acknowledge the service of Deacon Aaron Peters for this initiative within the College and the wonderful students who have served our community through this project.
At the QCE Awards Ceremony, Mrs Miriam Schimmel, Maths Teacher and Liturgical Dance Teacher, was also acknowledged for 30 years of service and dedication to Catholic Education. Congratulations Miriam and thank you for your wonderful service to our community.
Service in our community is not limited to just our staff and students. We have many parents with gifts that can support our community. This year, our College has been committed to rekindling our P&F, to encourage friendship and cooperation amongst our families to benefit our College community. We have had some amazing parent volunteers helping with our College Quiz Night, Music Nights, College production and more recently the Year 12 Ball and Graduation activities.
Our parent-led P&F Information Evening will be held on Tuesday 9 November at 6.30pm in the Senior Learning Centre Lecture Theatre. Supporting the P&F is a wonderful way to engage with the College and support your child’s success and happiness.
“I encourage you to come along and learn more about our P&F and how you can give a little of your time to make a big impact in our College community”.
Finally, I ask all members of the community to pray for the Class of 2021 as they prepare for their final exams in the coming weeks and embark on life beyond the College.
As we farewell our Year 12 students, we send with them, love for each of them and every blessing for the person they are and who they will become. As Lasallian alumni, they will always hold a special place in our community.
Giovanna Fiume | Principal