The culture of philanthropy at St Margaret’s continues to develop with the intent to inspire the girls to begin a life-long commitment to giving through activities that have a positive impact on the communities in which they live and will, one day, work. Through the many philanthropic endeavours in which the school is involved, it is intended that students will improve their understanding of current community issues and, in doing so, build important relationships between the school and the community. Philanthropy at St Margaret’s is driven by selected senior students who form the Philanthropy Group. These girls collaborate with other groups throughout the school to raise awareness and funds for many causes and organisations within the broader community.
Girls from Years 5 upwards can work through a levelled program that encourages the them to take initiative to support a charity or do volunteer work within the school, while developing leadership skills, organisational skills and team work. The Oaktree Foundation works in three key areas:
- Local Community - It is our belief that a ‘hands on approach’ helps students learn valuable skills and builds character that will last a lifetime.
- National Community - By providing support to our own country's needs, we can keep the community aware of the issues closer to home which are often forgotten.
- International Community - The Oaktree Foundation will continue to support St Anne’s through providing funding for the ‘SMILE’ literacy program which aims to develop literacy skills of Year 5 students from the province of Kwazulu-Natal. The Oaktree Foundation will also raise funds for its national body, specifically focusing on the ‘One Day’ campaign which designates September 1 as the national fundraising day.
TocH is a community based organisation in which many students at St Margaret’s participate. TocH first started during the First World War, when the Reverend P.B. (Tubby) Gayton opened a centre called Talbot House in a Belgian town of Poperinghe. This house was a peaceful retreat for thousands of young men on their way to and from the front lines where they could try to forget the war, enjoy each other’s company and find spiritual help. After the war, the men who had visited Talbot House sought to continue ‘TocH’, the signaller’s code word for Talbot House. TocH now operates in many countries and at St Margaret’s is concerned with putting Christian values into practice and has four simple aims. These aims are:
- Friendship: to welcome all in friendship
- Service: to give personal service
- Fair-mindedness: to listen always to the views of others
- The Kingdom: to acknowledge God: spiritual nature of all people.
Student philanthropy in the primary school
The service component of Body, Heart, Mind and Soul is diverse and benefits the local, national and international communities. This community engagement is embedded as part of the school ethos and learning. It aims to develop a sense of social responsibility in our students. Our service program is addressed through Cornerstone Project, House Charity and Year Level Service Learning Projects. The cornerstone project is conducted in Year 6 and the aim of project is for students to plan and conduct a fundraising venture. Each House raises money to contribute to a school charity. Each year level is involved in a project that is reflective of their understanding and is used as a tool to enhance and enrich classroom learning.
Maria Cobain (2015) spearheaded student philanthropy during her time at school and was awarded Junior Philanthropist of the Year 2015 by the Queensland Community Foundation for her very significant efforts in this area.