The launch of the human rights group coincided with the launch of the “Racism, it stops with me” campaign – initiated by the Australian Human Rights Commission. In memory of Auntie Pat Davis Hurst, Mr Chalmers made a presentation during our NAIDOC Week celebrations of 2013 of the “Racism. It Stops With Me.” ad featuring Adam Goodes. All students and staff were then invited to participate in the formation of the new St Clare’s Human Rights Group.
We focus on the implications of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Australian Human Rights Commission, and our personal interests. A dedicated group of individuals have turned out to our weekly meetings where we developed key focus areas. We meet every Friday at lunchtime in Room 19.
We focus on:
- Asylum seekers / refugees
- Homophobic bullying
- Women’s rights / domestic violence
- War crimes
- Disability rights
- Regular articles to Aurora.
We also developed the four pillars for our group: Compassion, Knowledge, Perspective and Diversity, through which we continue our fight for human rights.
Read a full overview of the St Clare's Taree Human Rights Group.
St Vincent de Paul Student Conference
Our Vinnies group are proactive in their awareness of social justice. There are three main activities in which our group participates.
First, we visit Storm Retirement Village on a fortnightly basis. Students who volunteer for this great work are rostered twice per term to visit the residents to chat with them and assist in playing games. This is a real bonus for our students as well as the residents.
Second, we have a Winter Blanket Appeal that supports families who experience the cold and are unable to access warm blankets. The blankets are distributed by the St Vincent de Paul Conference at Taree.
Third, our annual Christmas Hamper Appeal raises anywhere up to 30 large washing baskets of groceries and gifts. Before Christmas, the baskets are collected by members of the Taree Conference of Vinnies for packing into appropriate-sized hampers for families who struggle to buy that little extra for Christmas.
St Clare's Environmental Group
The Environmental Group is a collection of students, teachers and parents from the St Clare’s community who actively collaborate to ensure a sustainable future for all. Members join in an effort to make a difference in the St Clare’s environment as well as surrounding communities. Our positive and active group has established solid relationships with wider community members who have similar objectives and lines of thought.
Since the Environmental Group has begun, there have been a number of students involved who sought to make a difference and contributed in the development of projects such as:
- solar panels on the roof of the Maths/HSIE block
- water tanks and pumps to catch and supply our grounds with a more sustainable source
- a vegetable garden
- working compost bins
- establishment of a stable colony of native Australian bees to assist in the pollination process of plant species in our gardens
- beautification of the street side of the hall with a variety of plants that will assist in reducing our carbon footprint.
As a part of the group, students become highly engaged members of the St Clare’s community. They develop skills that enable them to branch their environmental practices into the wider community to ensure ecological sustainability and intergenerational equality for our future.
St Vincent de Paul immersion trip
The immersion trip provides challenging social justice work visiting various initiatives of the St Vincent de Paul Society as well as other support agencies.
Visits are made to venues such as Ozanam Industries at West Ryde. Ozanam Industries proudly employs Australians with varying forms of disabilities in a supervised, monitored and supportive work environment. Here the students together with the staff who travel with them get to work alongside those employed.
Other venues include the Wayside Chapel at Kings Cross, which works with young people with addictions and serves the surrounding community with various support networks as well as being a meeting place. We visit the Marian Centre at Lewisham, which caters for women and children who experience domestic violence. A special activity is the visit to St Canice’s Parish at Elizabeth Bay where students work to prepare and serve food in a soup kitchen environment. Here they are able to chat with people with very different life experiences.
A highlight for the whole group is participating in Night Patrol. A Vinnies van visits key areas in the centre of Sydney during the late evening. Our group usually meets the van in Martin Place. People who experience homelessness know to meet the van and are supplied with a cuppa and sandwiches and a friendly smile. The group usually finds this really challenging and yet very rewarding. The people are incredibly open and welcoming of our company. Blankets, scarves, beanies, and snacks are collected before the trip to be distributed to those who are “living rough”. The people are incredibly grateful and happy to receive such gifts.
The whole experience over the three days is unique in that those attending can look at their own lives and see how important it is to reach out to the marginalised.
Catholic Missions trip to Broome
Rich with Aboriginal culture and spirituality, Beagle Bay and Lombadina-Djarindjin are the settings of some of the most enlightening moments for those who travelled to Western Australia with Mr and Mrs Ryan, and Catholic Mission guide Lana.
Guided “tagalong” tours with elders from the communities enable those participating to appreciate the rich culture and spirituality of Indigenous Australians, as well as their deep connection to the land. They especially enjoy the means they are shown of living without the need for technology. Adventures included spearing mud crabs and drinking honey from flowers.