Three St Stephen’s School Year 12 students embraced the spirit of giving over the Christmas break, volunteering their time at the Boab Network Holiday Program, which saw a group of people from the Mowanjum Community, 10kms outside of Derby, visiting Perth for some summer fun.
The Program provides role-modelling, friendship, and teaches all involved important skills through engaging the group in positive activities such as beach trips, sunset walks and exploring Perth. The initiative was set up in response to the increasing rate of poor mental health and youth suicide in the community.
After hearing about the fantastic work of The Boab Network, Year 12 Carramar students Montana Madsen and Angus Bishop and Duncraig Year 12 Tessa Aylmore were excited to put their hands up to share their knowledge of the local area, make new friends and build their leadership skills.
As the students got to know the group over the holidays, they were surprised to see the strength of their visitors’ community and how much they all looked out for one and other.
“I loved hearing what they had to say about their community. It was so heart-warming to see the relationships they had with each other, they cared so deeply for one another,” Montana said.
The St Stephen’s School students were humbled when they saw how excited the Mowanjum group were to do things that they take for granted such as riding on a train, ferry and even an escalator. Tessa commented that “it did not occur to her that in the same country, not everyone grew up with the same”.
“I did not realise how lucky I am,” she said.
All three students commented that they would “100% recommend” anyone who is interested in volunteering with the Boab Network to do it.
“It is a great way to make new friends, learn more about one of the oldest cultures in the world and learn new skills in years to come,” Angus said.
“There aren’t many chances in life where you get to create friendships and make a difference in people’s lives, see your country from a new perspective, and have fun all in one go. So put your name up for it and see firsthand the impact you can make on these wonderful, energetic kids,” Tessa said.
To anyone who is thinking of volunteering, Montana shared the following advice, “keep an open mind and get involved! Be open-minded when you start volunteering and try and take your time to listen to the kids and get to know them.”
After volunteering at the 2022 Boab Network Holiday Program, Tessa has expressed that she is excited to volunteer again next year, and Montana has been offered the opportunity to travel to Derby in the April term break to volunteer with the Boab Network’s Derby Holiday Program. Well done to Montana, Tessa and Angus for embodying the service and community values of the School!
*Please note: This photo was taken in January 2022 when mask mandates were not in place.*