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Staff Offer Service to Ronald McDonald House

May 01, 2019 at 12:07 PM

Saint Kentigern has a strong service ethic and this week, it was the turn of the staff from the Boys’ School to lend a hand. Fifteen staff members, comprising both teaching and administration staff, donned aprons and got to work in the kitchen at Ronald McDonald House, to prepare and serve dinner to families of children undergoing long term care at Starship Hospital. 

The Ronald McDonald Houses, in each of the major centres around New Zealand, offer a vital service to support families when their child is in hospital away from their home town. Last year alone, over 4,300 families were assisted with accommodation and support, free of charge, to help relieve some of the everyday stresses they face when their child is unwell. 

Families come from across New Zealand and although the average length of stay is seven days, many families will to stay for weeks or even months on end. This can be a very stressful time and the Houses aim to provide a ‘home-away-from-home’, offering families a safe haven to retreat to after a long day on the ward, allowing them to escape the clinical world of medicine, and take comfort in the familiarity and routine of a home-like environment.

Volunteers have an important part to play. On two nights a week, family dinners are provided by volunteer groups, giving families a chance to relax and enjoy a home cooked meal. 

With funds collected through our Chapel offerings, the Boys’ School team of volunteers set out to buy the food items required to create a choice of nutritious dinners for all the families staying at the House - on this occasion, almost 150 people. The team achieved its objective, with dinner on the table by 6pm, after an afternoon spent preparing food in volume. The meal was well received and there were most appreciative comments about the butter chicken and rice, shepherd’s pie, macaroni cheese, roast vegetable salad, green salad and bread rolls, followed by sticky date pudding and ice cream, with ice cream cones for the children. 

Whilst dinner was being served, two of our students entertained with Cayden Lin-Uaile on guitar and Ran Yuan on piano. 

For those staff involved, it was a most moving experience, particularly when they met with the families and got a real understanding of the emotional impact it has when a child is ill. It was particularly poignant to serve some of the victims and their families from the Christchurch Mosque attack. Once the meals were served, they joined the families for dinner and had a chance to listen to their stories. The staff returned home with gratitude for their own situations and a sense of purpose for having made a positive contribution for others. Plans are being put in place for staff to volunteer for this cause at least twice a year. 

SERVICE AT SAINT KENTIGERN

In keeping with our Mission Statement: ‘To provide education which inspires students to strive for excellence in all areas of life for the glory of God and the service of others,’ Saint Kentigern schools have a strong service ethic. 

Service does not always have to be about big issues; it can be acts of kindness, consideration and compassion in the classroom, at home and in daily living. It is these little acts of service that build a foundation for moral reasoning later in life. Service learning allows our students to discover ‘their best selves’ and develop lifelong habits. 

But it is not only our students who take on service ventures, our staff are also encouraged to take on an annual service activity that involves a personal commitment of time and effort. 

As our students progress from Preschool through to Senior College, service opportunities at both school and community level abound. Students are encouraged to become involved with projects such as World Vision’s 20 or 40 Hour Famine, to contribute to food, shoe, clothing and stationery ‘banks’ that provide for those in the wider community who are less fortunate, and to understand the purpose and end result of Chapel offerings. 

For our older students, meaningful service often takes them into a world of which they have no prior experience. Their willingness to offer help in these circumstances sets them apart. 

Each year, teams from the Boys’ School, Girls’ School and Senior College have spent their July or October holidays assisting villages and schools in both Fiji and Vanuatu. Further across the globe, our Senior College students have travelled to Malawi to assist in a village Saint Kentigern supports through World Vision. Middle College students have travelled to Cambodia, also taking part in service ventures. 

Closer to home, students are involved in community projects such as helping in reforestation projects; assisting at low decile schools though both play and material support; assisting in special projects such as the Garden to Table programme; helping with breakfast clubs; spending time with the elderly and a host of other activities.

Both students and staff enter their service opportunities sometimes not knowing what to expect but leave empowered by the emotional satisfaction of ‘a job well done’ knowing that others may have benefited from their efforts. 

To stay faithful to our Mission Statement, we will continue to provide opportunities for our students and staff to put service into action; for service to become an intrinsic part of a Saint Kentigern outlook on life - to live The Saint Kentigern Way.

 

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