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Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
that encour ages member s to continue
their work. Messages of gr atitude have
included these comments : "We have
been completely over whelmed by your
ongoing suppor t and care of our family
during this difficult time" and, "Your help
was like having an angel in our home".
Perhaps the most telling affirmation was,
"You are truly Christian and caring in your
effor ts to reach out to others."
Regular contributor Monica Scanlon shares
one school community's efforts to 'walk
St Joseph's Primary School Merewether's
Caring Team provides ser vice and
suppor t to those in special need within
its community -- students, families and
staff. The Caring Team is co-ordinated by
classroom teacher Donna McMillan, who
is quick to acknowledge the unstinting
suppor t given by principal, Michael Doyle.
Donna sees the need to "be the face of
God to people and set an example which
then motivates them to reach out and
care for others". In 2010 the Par ents &
Friends Association (P & F) at St Joseph's
r ecognised, along with Donna, that a
caring team wa s a priority for suppor ting
both the highs and lows of family life. This
team could see a need to for malise what
was happening daily in offer s of friendship,
love and suppor t in the community.
Donna and fellow teacher Emma
McCulloch are backed by a group of
willing volunteer s who include parents,
gr andparents and parishioners, friends
of school members and ex-student
families whose names, numbers and email
addresses are filed for reference. Donna
said, "I can see that the Caring Group
streng thens bonds within the community.
It joins parents, staff and parishioner s
into par tnership, living and growing in
faith and love." Sometimes parents work
full-time and are unable to come to school
for canteen or r eading groups but can
contribute to the community eg by
making a casserole. The P & F purchased
a freezer to store meals to be r eady
for times of need.
Donna said, "People enjoy helping each
other and want to help but sometimes
don't know how." The caring group
co -ordinates outreach at times of loss
of loved ones, family breakdowns, new
ar rivals in families and in the school
community. Caring Team activities and
contact details are distributed in the
school newsletter. Sometimes the families
that have been helped are then able to
lend suppor t to other s in the futur e.
Donna cited examples of how a sudden
tr agedy in a family can cause dysfunction.
The outreach includes transpor tation
to school, provision of a meal, pr actical
advice, welcome cards to new babies,
condolence cards, listening over a cup of
tea or making a phone call to touch base,
assisting with school uniforms , excur sions
or lunches. Donna acknowledged the
wonderful suppor t of the school canteen.
The team has also facilitated donations
of non-perishable foods and household
items to Penola House and the St Vincent
de Paul Society in conjunction with social
justice projects under taken at the school.
Through witnessing the Caring Team's
actions, the students are learning about
suppor ting other s. At the beginning of
winter the Year 6 spor ts captains initiated
fundraising to aid those in need.
The names of those in need are kept
strictly confidential and distribution of
food and clothes happens with the utmost
discretion. Funds are raised from the
school cr azy sock day and gardening group
har vest days. Local businesses suppor t
the initiatives of the team, especially at the
2013 "getting to know you" activity day
which brought the team and community
The team receives wonder ful feedback
DYNAMIC PROGRAM SUPPORTS COMMUNITY
IN GOOD TIMES AND IN BAD
Members of the St Joseph's Caring Team.
Share your thoughts@auroramagazine
To learn more Phone 4979 1200 or visit www.mn.catholic.edu.au
Catholic schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle offer families
a nurturing and encouraging environment for their children to learn,
achieve and grow from Kindergarten to Year 12.
More than a great education.
2015 Enrolments are now open.
Contact your local Catholic school today.
Kate Kingham, Caring Team Co-ordinator Donna McMillan, Gretal McMillan
and Imogen McCulloch.
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