“I love being involved in social justice work. It means a lot to know we are actually helping and creating change.” Brianna, Yr 9.
Service of others and working for justice is firmly rooted in the Gospels and in the Benedictine Good Samaritan traditions and are a necessary part of our educational experience at Stella Maris. With the Parable of the Good Samaritan as our benchmark, it is our responsibility to challenge our girls to think beyond their own circumstances, develop empathy and compassion, and to reach out to others beyond what is required.
In a school survey, approximately three quarters of Stella Girls said they have volunteered in some way. When asked what they would do if they won $10 million, 94% said they would use the money to make other people’s lives better in some way by donating to charity, starting their own charity, or helping friends and family. They identified the alleviation of poverty, the plight of refugees and asylum seekers and people living in conflict, children’s education, exclusion through inequality and intolerance, violence against women and issues associated with globalisation as the most pressing global concerns.
Stella Maris College is built on our values of community, hospitality, stewardship, peace and justice. The personal qualities that are nurtured through an attitude of service include generosity, understanding, acceptance, compassion, empathy, humility, gratitude, pragmatism, kindness, grace, respect and dignity. Through our connection with others we become more than we can be as individuals.
There are many opportunities for our girls to participate in Good Samaritan Education immersion experiences where they gain immeasurable insight into the lives of others not as privileged as themselves. These include:
- Year 9 visit to Mater Dei in Camden, our Good Samaritan Sister School catering for students with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities.
- Year 10 visit to Santa Teresa Mission, an indigenous community in Alice Springs (10 days).
- The Philippines is an overseas immersion program in Manila and Bacolod City. Girls participate in the work of the Sisters at the Good Samaritan Kinder School & Community Centre (10 days).
Staff and students have the opportunity for immersion experiences in Timor Leste, the Philippines, Kiribati and Japan, working with the Good Samaritan Sisters.
I thought I was going over [to the Philippines] to help children less fortunate than me but they really changed my life in ways I will be forever thankful for. – Christian Olsen, Yr11.
The people we met, the hospitality we experienced, and the beauty and strength of Good Samaritans being the hands and feet of Christ has renewed our partnership and hope for a transformed future for our brothers and sisters in the Philippines. – Carolyn Collins, Head of Community and Social Justice
Click here to read a news item on the Good Samaritan Education website about a Stella Girl’s immersion experience at Santa Teresa Mission.
Our efforts focus on supporting our local and global community as well as Good Samaritan initiatives including volunteer work, fundraising and participating in local events. Our responsibility to respond to need is embedded in the curriculum and in the daily life of the College. Many students in Years 9 and 10 also participate in the Duke of Edinburgh program which has a community service component.
Year 11 Ministry Outreach is an opportunity to respond to poverty and homelessness in practical ways. Over seven days Year 11 girls visit a number of outreach agencies around Sydney.
We also have a student-led social justice group who are involved in volunteer work in the local community including GIFT (a cooking/feeding program at St Kieran’s Manly Vale), Manly Women’s Shelter and Lifeline fundraisers throughout the year.
These are some of the charitable works supported by the Stella Maris community:
- Caritas Australia – Project Compassion
- Clean Up Australia Day
- Bear Cottage
- St Vincent de Paul Christmas Appeal
- World’s Greatest Shave
- Wrap with Love
- Happy Days Cambodian Village School (in conjunction with Mike Pawley)
- Girl Rising
We also respond to emergency situations like natural disasters and famines, both in Australia and overseas, as the need arises.
In addition to our other efforts, each term the girls focus on raising awareness and funds for a Good Samaritan and local charity. The Good Sams Foundation is run by the Sisters as a public benevolent institution and not-for-profit. We know that every cent reaches the people who need it most and because of our connection with the Foundation, our girls also have the opportunity to visit these communities and to witness the impact of their donations.
Term 1: Mater Dei School (a Good Samaritan school for students with intellectual disability or developmental delay)
Term 2: Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) indigenous community, Central Australia
Term 3: Kinder School, Philippines, and The Good Samaritan Inn (a women’s shelter in Victoria)
Term 4: Vinnies Christmas Appeal and Bear Cottage