Real money, big decisions, tangible results for SS students
A strong emphasis on community and social service has been an integral feature of an MLC education since the College was founded in 1882.
What does service learning at MLC look like in 2017? We spoke to students and staff across all four schools to find out.
When six Senior School students took up the challenge of distributing funds on behalf of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, they applied many years of service learning experience at MLC to their decision-making process.
“Right across the College, our various service learning programs are designed to complement and build on the skills students develop through their academic study,” explains Head of Senior School, Anne Wallington.
“In Senior School, service learning opportunities demonstrate a clear link between the skills students attain in the classroom and how they can be implemented to benefit the community.”
The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation’s Youth in Philanthropy program is one of many opportunities for MLC’s senior students to make a measurable difference through service.
A unique experience, the program provides teams of students from various schools with $10000 to distribute across three charities of their choice, with the proviso that each works to address one of five key social issues: homelessness, domestic violence, unemployment, education or sustainability.
This year the MLC team chose charities that support members of the community effected by homelessness, with a particular focus on youth and women.
“The Youth in Philanthropy program is a huge step up in terms of responsibility,” explains Anne. “It requires students to apply considered, careful judgement. It is real learning with real money that has a tangible impact in the community.”
Students involved used skills developed both in, and beyond, the classroom to develop their approach.
“It was very important to us that we could objectively justify our decision,” explains Year 11 student, Ella McKeand. “We devised a table of criteria and assessed several organisations against agreed benchmarks to determine where our funds would go.”
The MLC team selected the Lighthouse Foundation, The Salvation Army and Safe Steps as their final charities, awarding each organisation a sum of $7000, $1500 and $1500, respectively.
“The Youth in Philanthropy program was a great opportunity to learn and apply real-world skills through serving the community,” explains Year 11 student, Rosemary Sun.
“It was also a very eye opening experience. When we learnt about Melbourne’s high rates of homelessness, it brought home to us that this is an issue that’s right on our doorstep.”
As well as distributing funds, MLC’s Youth in Philanthropy team also conducted a towel-collection drive at the College and donated more than 300 clean, good quality towels to help the Salvation Army provide free showers.
The Youth in Philanthropy program builds upon many of the 21st
century skills that underpin the MLC curriculum, including teamwork, problem solving and entrepreneurship, as students navigate the complex moral landscape of philanthropy. It also complements a range of other service learning opportunities in MLC’s Senior School.
“As part of the International Baccalaureate’s CAS (creativity, action, service) requirements I have become a photography mentor for younger students at the school,” explains Ella.
“I mentor MLC Junior School students in Mathematics,” says fellow IB student, Rosemary. “It is a great chance to share skills you already have to help younger students improve in their abilities.”
Pictured: Rosemary and Ella