Students are Giving Up to Give Back

Mar 7, 2024

Students at St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Hebburn, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, are not giving up on chocolate or other sweet treats this lent, instead they are giving back to charity and supporting their local communities.

Each term, students are working with the RE department and their tutor groups to participate in not one, not two, but three social action challenges! During which, they work with local charities to support some of the most vulnerable people in their communities.

In the run up to both Christmas and Easter, students have the chance to collate care packages containing essentials and goods such as: tea, chocolates, biscuits, warm items of clothing, books and much more.

The items that they buy and donate are then gifted to some of the elderly parishioners within the Hebburn community. These care packages often go to individuals who are residents in local care homes and who may struggle with loneliness, bereavement, or dementia. Not only do these recipients get the gift of the thoughtful items within their care parcel, but the students also take the time to hand deliver these parcels personally and spend quality time with the recipients, chatting to them about their life and showing that they care.

It’s not just the recipients of the care parcels who benefit though, but the students as well, with many of them who participate stating that it was once of the most fulfilling and rewarding things they’ve ever done. Many love the experience and jump at the chance to do it again. Year 11 student Lewis Hillis (ages 16) commented that he “enjoyed the smiles on the residents faces as they received their gifts and talked about their lives.” Meanwhile, Emma Henderson in Year 12 said that the experience “made them feel grateful to be able to help and comfort the people who would otherwise be alone.”

Using lent and advent as opportunities to give back help students to reflect on the meaning of these important times of year.

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