Southland school tops country in volunteering

Some of the Limehills School students who've recently clocked up almost 1000 hours of volunteering and the most of any ...

Some of the Limehills School students who've recently clocked up almost 1000 hours of volunteering and the most of any school in the country.

Limehills has been named the country's top volunteering school.

The school was selected ahead of others around the country for achieving almost 1000 hours' of volunteering, up from the 500 hours they achieved in 2016.

Part of a Serve for New Zealand campaign, coordinated by The Student Volunteer Army, the Returned Services' Association and Canterbury University, with the aim of honouring the Anzac spirit and igniting a legacy of service in the community.

The concept appealed to Limehills School and teacher Kirsty Smith said it was a great philosophy which fitted with the school's volunteering culture.

"This is a fantastic model to acknowledge the Anzac spirit and to foster it for future generations.

"Volunteering plays a big part in our school. It's to get students to understand what volunteering is, to enjoy it and to carry it on later in their lives.

"When you think about it, volunteering is how our Southland rural communities survive – our rugby and netball clubs, the Limehills swimming pool, the local fire brigade, they all rely on volunteers."

This year the school achieved its hours through maintenance work around the Limehills War Memorial, catering and delivering food to families using Ronald McDonald House, holding a massive community rubbish collection, along with weekly volunteering at the local Weka Preschool, kindergarten and Hospice Shop.

"We're definitely surprised at how the hours have added up, but it's been easy to do.

"The students are thrilled at what they have achieved and are now thinking about how they can beat their record next year."

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And with great support from school families that was likely to happen.

"We established our Student Volunteer Army seven years ago and so volunteering has become part of the school. It's sustainable and parents have been great in supporting it."

Smith said it was about strengthening knowledge of volunteering and the importance of service.

"It's also important that the work is on-going and sustainable, to embed community­ volunteering across the generations."

She was pleased to note that several past students from Limehills had continued with their community volunteering in their lives at Central Southland College.

 - Stuff

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