“I’ve been teaching here for nine years and I have never seen anything like this, I am so overwhelmed! You have no idea how much value you are placing in our children. When you’ve been around this long there are moments when you sometimes feel forgotten. The most we’ve ever had to a working bee for this school is 20-30 people. I can’t believe what I’m seeing so many of you, and we could never do this in a scale like this. Thank You!”
This was the response from a local high school teacher on Saturday 24th of October where a team of over 250 volunteers from across all our campuses in Melbourne gathered to renovate a local high school.
During the month of October our church highlighted the theme I AM CITYCARE. It was a call to the people in our church to get involved and take ownership and responsibility for serving their local communities. Across the country we ran a wide-ranging number of one-off projects where we gave people the opportunity to get a taste of serving through CityCare.
One of these projects was a mini renovation project in a local High School in South Eastern suburb of Melbourne. When we first met up with the High School Principal, Harvey, and asked what their greatest need was he said it was the physical condition of the school. As a government funded high school with a limited budget for maintenance they had not painted or carpeted some of the classroom for over 40 years or landscape the overgrown gardens in the school.
We had two months of planning following this conversation with the School Principal to see what we as a church in Melbourne could do. We rallied people who have never held a paintbrush to those who were experienced painters, youth, families, men and women, the young and old.
The Principal and teachers present could not believe the numbers of people that showed up on a Saturday to do this for their school. While gathered during their lunch break the Principal thanked the volunteers telling them that what they were accomplishing in one day would have taken them five years to achieve
On Monday morning the teachers and students arrived at their newly renovated school in tears and jumping for joy. The Year 12 students were one of the most impacted when they walked into their newly painted Year 12 Common Room with a mural on the wall saying ‘Your journey starts here’. The feedback we have received is the school is already seeing a change in students’ attitudes and a renewed sense of pride for the school they attend.
On our own, we can only do so much, but together we can accomplish what may seem impossible. This is the power of the local Church.
CityCare Manager – Melbourne