ST JOSEPH'S INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC COLLEGE
STUDENT OUTREACH EVALUATION
STUDENT OUTREACH PROGRAM EVALUATION
There are many different types of student volunteer programs, each with its distinct characteristics and evaluation requirements. Last term, we the senior students of St Joseph’s International Catholic College, had accomplished our public services which addressed the social needs of our community with the conscious fostering of learning. We had also accomplished the educational needs of our students to develop knowledge, skills and understanding.
On Tuesday the 16th of June, the 2020 Class of 12 Chevhartz was scheduled to visit participants of the Street Children Ministry at the Catholic Archdiocesan Social Apostolate Centre situated in 5-Mile, Port Moresby. They were followed by the Class of 12 Carcella a day later on Wednesday, June 17, 2020.
We were given two weeks to plan and organize the event ourselves, with the guidance from our Christian Living teacher, Mrs. Bregidita Jigo. Four different groups were created by Mrs. Jigo: singing, teaching, game and food group. All our classmates were given the choice to volunteer in a respective group. And we gathered ideas from every student in our separate classes to create a little program. The days leading up to the event were full of a flurry of activity in preparation.
Then the day came. Cameras on check, food packed, supplies stocked in the bus, we were born ready. On our journey to the destination, we prayed and asked God for His will and way throughout the day. Truth be told, we were quite anxious at first. We all had a common goal of giving the kids the best experience possible, thus along with the excitement, built up over the weeks, there was an undeniable feeling of nervousness and anxiety – for the reason that we did not want to fail ourselves and especially the kids. Nonetheless, upon arrival a wave of excitement and joy washed over us.
“The children welcomed us with smiles as bright as the sun.”
“All the stress of being a Grade 12 student vanished as I saw the smiles and heard the laughs of the children.”
We began our program, led by our choir and guitarists. We formed one big circle in which the students and the children sat side by side, singing along to biblical action songs like ‘Father Abraham’. It was fun for us to revisit the songs that we had sung when we were once their age. The next event that we transitioned to was the ‘Teaching’ in which the group of girls prepared a lesson based on ‘Making Moral Decisions’, which the Grade 12s have been learning in our Christian Living Class. It was an interactive experience for the children, who were excited to answer questions and participate in role playing. The Games group took-over afterwards, which the children were really looking forward to. We watched them play and helped organize the various games such as tunnel ball, dog-and-the-bone, over-under and musical chairs. Out of all the games the most interesting of them and the icing on the cake of that day was tug-of-war where we students joined in.
“The children had so much fun, even though they lost in some of the games.”
“I enjoyed the luxury of the games because I was most involved with the children, encouraging them along the way and getting to know them much more.”
“The joy of being with the children and the satisfaction felt from playing with them made the whole trip worth it.”
Following this, we served the meals that the Food Group had done a brilliant job in preparing. While the children were enjoying their lunch, we began to hum and sing hymns which a few of them took the time to stop, set their meal aside, nod in appreciation and gently sway to the soft tune.
“We loaded them with all the food we prepared; we gave them rice and stew, T-shakes, fruits, cupcakes and lollies”
We remember Mrs. Jigo pointing out that one child, who appeared to be the eldest boy there, had not really touched his meal because he intended to take it back home for his family. Luckily, we had come prepared and so we handed out loot-bags stuffed with treats and plastics full of goods for them to take home.
“There were lots of photos taken by our own classmates, who were excellent photographers, the children enjoyed getting pictures with us and we enjoyed taking pictures with them.”
Towards the end of our event, we were graced with the presence of His Eminence, Cardinal Sir John Ribat, MSC, the Archbishop of Port Moresby and then Vicar General, Father Robert Sabillo, MSP. A few of us were personally happy and excited because this was the first time to meet him in person. His Eminence expressed his joy in seeing us interact with the children. He took us back in time as he shared his own similar rejuvenating experiences.
While on the bus travelling there, I was anxious because I did not know what the children would look like, if they understood basic English or if they would behave well. The kids were obedient and listened to what they were told.
These children came from poor and unfortunate backgrounds. The first thing I noticed about these children were their clothes, they could not afford decent clothes or a uniform to wear to school. I realized how fortunate I am compared to so many kids out there. (Stephanie Laki)
Upon our arrival at the venue of the outreach program and upon entrance, we were surprised to see the children already lined up. We assembled ourselves in front of the children to hear them perform for us.
We were made welcome by a very heart-warming song from children. It was their “anthem” so they sang it from their heart.
After this, our singing group led the class with a couple of gospel songs. To be frank, had we been more prepared with our singing, it could have turned out much better and far more entertaining. Nonetheless, we believe we made up for this in the activities that followed. As the singing group took their way out, the teaching group settled the children down on desks and distributed coloring pages. The children expressed themselves colorfully through these pages so there was a well-deserved photo session before the games group came in. The games played included “Captain Ball”, “Over and under” and “Musical Chairs”. The games also came along with rewards such as lollipops, fudge bars, balloons and more candy. Once the fun and games were done, the children sat in a circle and were served delicious, homemade food which was prepared by students in the food group. This was the chance for the students to go ahead and sit with children and engage in conversation.
The atmosphere was so calm that I easily fit myself in with the children.
At the end of the program, before departure, each student went around the circle of children to bid their farewell. It was surely a sad moment for some of us to leave the children because we had so much fun and became fond of the children even though time was inadequate. As the bus drove past the Archdiocese Centre, all the kids climbed and stood by the fence shouting “Bye” and we let the events of the day slowly sink in.
“What have you learnt from this Youth Outreach Program?”
This experience challenged us with a new perspective in which we see ourselves as in fact privileged, happy, never hungry, never thirsty, never lonely, and never not loved. Appreciating the countless little blessings in our lives, we see, feel and know we must share our blessings with those who need it. Happiness is giveth but a choice, and to see these kids make the choice to be happy rather than to fall to the dark side made me admire the strength they have despite their limitations.
Seeing the children from the outreach, what they have and what they do not have, made me realize one thing; and that is: even when you have nothing, you have God. It had also taught me to appreciate what I have and thank God. It also shows that even if you are this or that, white or black, rich or poor, you still and will always have God. And He brings us together, Christian or not.
Life can be rough even though we have everything in front of us at times. We should not take anything in life for granted because it can all be gone the next day.
I felt as though I had learned more from those kids than what they had learned from me.
(Arnold Janssen Enriquez)
The experience helped build our character not only as Christians and students but also as leading members of our society and nation.(Alysa Darlene Fermin)
Participating in this taught me that everyone should love and support one another despite our differences in terms of the way we live and the way our lives are set out.
An experience like this builds up one's character and you get to see how a person is really like. This program has taught me to be kind and compassionate and help those who are not as fortunate as myself and to give with your heart without expecting anything in return because that is what Jesus did. It also taught me to love and respect everyone as equals and to work harder in school and become somebody in the future so that I can help my fellow countrymen who are struggling out there. It was an invigorating, spiritual and pleasant experience.
The experience was very heartfelt. Those kids made me realize that helping others is a really big progress that transforms you to be alive in the community and alive in Christ. In general, I believe that these children are lonely and all they need is interaction from a kind-hearted person who is willing to give them hospitality. I learnt that it is not necessary for you to give everything, just whatever you have is enough to share with others and this will matter most to God for it is He who has told us to love one and another as He has loved us. (Amelia Mirupasi)
“How has this experience made you feel?”
This spiritually enlightening trip has reminded me of God’s grace in my life and the lives of these children. Their smiles were genuine and pure. I could tell they’ve been through a lot at this young age, some scarred physically, some emotionally and others mentally. Watching them opening up to us showed bravery in itself.
Even though this was my first time to visit such beautiful children like them, I believe that by faith, that it is my calling to help and guard unfortunate kids; homeless and on the street or those who are struggling with their life. And through God’s Holy Name, I believe that my encounter with these kids is the first start towards the future in helping the unfortunate. This experience will always be in my heart long after I leave St. Joseph’s and go wherever I may go.
The presence of the little children together with my fellow young students put a smile on my face. Seeing them interact with each other made me as an adult student feel like a mother and big sister towards them. I found myself enjoying the happiness and joy they shared together and even correcting them when they were not doing the right thing. Although I felt sorry for the children I was glad to know that there is always someone who has the heart to assist them.
(Sr Rose Sohou)
At the school, the children are given a chance to learn and receive the education they have been deprived of due to the lack of money or parental guidance or both. I was very happy to help the children and hope that in future they become people who are able to make a change for the better, not only for themselves but for others as well.
People will always be there to support these children in the best way possible. After learning from the Sister that some children went on to secondary institutions, I know I want to be part of this someday and contribute in my own way.
It breaks my heart when we fortunate students take advantage or rather, take for granted the opportunity of learning in a safe and secured indoor classroom with huge amounts of school fees. Having to hug one of the girls a goodbye was enough for me, for I did want to leave with her the thought that someone out there still loves her and thinks about her.
As we were packing to return to school, I saw two little girls around the age of nine or ten. I became very emotional because when I saw them I was reminded of my sisters and myself. I asked myself, “If I were in that situation would I be as strong as they were?”
In all truth, the sight of a fellow brother or sister in a less privileged place than I am had made me angry. I was angry with God. If God really did love us all, why has He not done anything to help the less fortunate? However, immediately after this thought, another voice replied to me. It told me that God had not done nothing to help His beloved children, He had in fact done something; He created beings like you and me. God created us, so that we may help His own children. He put us in circumstances where we are capable of lending a hand to those in need. We can only understand this if our faith is aligned with God’s Will and we allow Him to show us His Way. As Christians we believe that the Spirit of God lives in each person, this only means that we can see the Heart of God in eight billion different ways. “If each one is a precious child Christ died to save, for whom He gave His life to love, so will I.”
From each Christian Living period utilized in school for planning, preparation and practice to the actual visitation, we were all proud as representatives of our college, not just as individuals but as a grade of Joey’s students; we were proud of the unity we had displayed.
We all took the lead and I was surprised to see how matured we all behaved and how we worked well together.
I was especially proud of and happy for our class boys because they truly stepped up to certain responsibilities that they would usually shy away from.
Beyond allowing us to spend time and give back to the children, the experience allowed us to grow closer with each other. Although we were put into groups, everyone did their best to lend a helping hand during the different activities.
This program has really helped us connect with our classmates. As many of us have different class schedules for the different subject combinations we take, it has been difficult to interact with our fellow students. This program has opened an opportunity for us to bond and strengthen our friendships.
My father would always tell me that “It is better to give than to receive.” So I gave all that I had.
A man once said, “If you have so much, give your wealth. If you have little, give your heart.” In this case, we gave both.
Through this Outreach Program and our interaction with the participants of the Street Children Ministry, we the students of this school St. Joseph’s International Catholic College have accomplished our mission “To develop and maintain good and strong hearts and so transform lives.”
Hand in hand, we nod in concord that to build a good school what we need is not hands but hearts.
Our success can be attributed to the fact that all our different skill sets came together to work in harmony. We truly look forward to another “play-date” with our new friends and hope this will be soon.
We would like to acknowledge every single individual who has contributed to the success of this program. We are grateful towards the school for approving this program amidst the concern of this global pandemic. Our patient drivers, we will not forget. We also appreciate the efforts of all those who help the children on a daily basis: Sister Angela, Sister Agnes and all others. We wholeheartedly thank Mrs. B. Jigo who has created this platform for us to interact with our local community and provided us this amazing and inspiring experience. Last but not the least; all glory goes back to God, our Heavenly Father for it is His Will, His Way and our faith.