At Seymour, our vision is: "Women of strength, optimism and justice, contributing to an equitable world for all."
Firmly embedded in the College's motto, Crescam Ministrando (I grow by serving), our vision statement demonstrates that the Christian principle of service is central to Seymour College's ethos, and that each of us not only has a responsibility to community, but actually gains much by reaching out to our fellow humans.
Our Service Programme - which has a local, national, and global focus - has a “head, hands and heart” approach. The aim is to connect the head and the heart through the experience of walking with people who, simply through life’s chance, have not been granted the privileged life that some of us share. Our students engage on local and national levels with issues affecting many of our society’s marginalised, including Indigenous Australians, the homeless, refugees, women, aged, sick, disabled, and other vulnerable communities.
Our College’s global focus is India, and every second year a group travels to India to connect with our partner communities there.
Our programme was strengthened in 2012 by the appointment of a Justice Facilitator in Residence for the month of June. The Justice Facilitator was Br Steve Rocha, who is the Justice Coordinator for the Christian Brothers in India. Not only did this deepen our connection with our Indian partners, it brought a new expertise and creativity to our programme.
This year, we are pleased to say that Br Steve made a return visit and completed a four week residency during June. This unique residency deepened our already rich curriculum, and broadened the students’ insight into the lives of those made poor, and injustices in our world.
Our Service Learning Programme has four central aims:
- Raise awareness and respond to areas of need: we achieve this by several means, including a service and justice programme that is integrated across our curriculum from Junior School to Year 12. Over the past two years we have made headway into leading our students down the path of advocacy. They understand that where they cannot give a platform for the marginalised to be heard, they need to be the voice for these people.
- Create opportunities for empathy: developing young people's awareness of and empathy for others is a critical step in fostering our students' emotional intelligence. Through the Year 11 programme Yungkurri-Apinthi, our students spend a week reaching out to marginalised communities and there are various other outreach opportunities for students across all year levels. An important part of this programme is the role of advocacy.
- Giving: at our fortnightly Service meetings, we discuss opportunities to reach out to others, using our time, gifts and energy to benefit others. We hope to develop in our students a rational approach to giving, and the ability to distinguish charity from justice.
- Fundraising: at Seymour, we stress that fundraising is not a synonym for service. However, there is certainly a place in our programme for collecting funds for our strategic partners.
The aim of Service Learning at Seymour is primarily educational. Our goal is to send out into the world a generation of young women who understand the role and power of advocacy, who are committed to making ethical and just decisions, and who have a desire to make a difference in our world.