This week is National Volunteer Week, the annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of volunteers across Australia.
The theme of National Volunteer Week 2019 is ‘Making a world of difference’. At St Michael’s, we are greatly supported by volunteers from the School community who give their time and expertise to assist in many and varied ways to make a significant difference in the lives of our students. Volunteers play a valuable role in supporting student endeavours and we are extremely grateful for their contributions.
St Michael’s parent Jo Rosenthal has been a valued volunteer at the School for many years and has reflected on her experiences volunteering with the School.
Volunteering is a great way to connect with other parents and staff, and to get to know the children who are friends with your own child. St Michael's parent, Jo Rosenthal
“Volunteering at St Michael’s began when my daughter started in Kindergarten, as I wanted to become more involved with my daughter’s day at school to see what she was experiencing and to create a connection with the School and staff,” said Jo. “In the early years, I was among a group of parents who would sit and read to the children, help on excursions, act as an extra set of hands in the gym and help the children change into their swimming gear when they had swimming lessons.”
Jo then began assisting the School’s French language teachers to create French experiences for the students including serving Year 1 students ice-cream at the ‘French ice-cream café’.
“I love helping the French teaching staff create French experiences for the Children,” said Jo.
“The children learn how to ask for an ice cream in French, and then they come to the primary school staff kitchen which is decorated as an ice-cream stall and order their ice cream of choice,” said Jo. “Before the students order, they are told, the nice lady doesn’t speak any English so you must speak in French.”
“It’s all smooth sailing until the sister or brother of a friend of my daughter recognises me and I know the jig is up,’ said Jo. “Now my daughter who is in Year 6, volunteers to film each child while I serve and yes, she get’s an ice cream too, so long as she asks for it in French!”
“The French café is always fun, and it’s a great feeling to know I’ve entertained the children and empowered them with the knowledge that they can successfully order ice cream and a chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) in French,” said Jo.
Volunteering has brought Jo a lot of enjoyment and helped Jo to build strong connections within the School.
“Volunteering is a great way to connect with other parents and staff, and to get to know the children who are friends with your own child,” said Jo. “I get as much out of helping out the School as the School gets from me helping them.”
“The connections are enduring and it creates a wonderful familiarity within the School,” she said.
We would like to thank Jo, and all of our wonderful volunteers for their generosity and ongoing support.